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'Ripples 2' exhibition at ISU Design on Main features expanding collaborative art project

November 02, 2015


"Calm Waters" (woodcut print, 2012) by Tiberiu Chelcea.

AMES, Iowa — An exhibition of nearly 100 different artworks originating from a single woodcut print will be on display Nov. 13 through Dec. 7 at the Iowa State University Design on Main Gallery, 203 Main St. in downtown Ames.

"Ripples 2" features artist books, collages, drawings, paintings, sculptures, mixed-media works and videos created by more than 45 artists. The show will open with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13. Gallery hours are 2 to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.

"Under the Sea" (acrylic, collage on wood panel, 2015) by Alexis Dwyer.

All of the works on display began as prints of "Calm Waters," a woodcut designed in 2012 by Ames artist Tiberiu Chelcea—then living in Nashville, Tennessee—for a print exchange between Platetone Printshop in Nashville and Red Delicious Press in Denver, Colorado. After pulling the edition required for the exchange, Chelcea was left with extra prints, which he invited other artists to use as the basis for new works.

"The participating artists can do whatever they want to the prints as long as the original image is not entirely destroyed or covered," Chelcea said.

On his website, Chelcea says the "Ripples" collaborative project was "inspired by the way Internet memes begin with a simple image (or video, or some other visual unit) that is then remixed by a lot of people who are spread out geographically. The project tries to capture this diffuse, spread-out authorship."

"River" (artist book, 2013) by Lesley Patterson-Marx.

Now in its third year, the project continues through direct invitation of new artists by Chelcea, through word of mouth, and through a signup sheet Chelcea provides when the project is exhibited.

"These ways of growing the project are what give it its name: it extends like ripples in a lake, created when one drops a stone and which become more and more detached from the original event," he said. "I have not personally met at least half of the participating artists, and more and more are contributing without my direct invitation."

The "Ripples 2" exhibition at ISU Design on Main Gallery is the third time the project has been publicly displayed and the second standalone show of the work.

Chelcea holds bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from Politehnica University of Bucharest, Romania, and a PhD in computer science from Columbia University, New York City. He is a board member of Ames Collaborative Art (Ames Chelcea's work combines elements and processes of traditional printmaking with digital technologies, demonstrating unexpected correlations between old and new technologies and issues of consumption, serial design, and automated versus manual, labor-intensive processes.

He has received several awards, fellowships and patents in electronic and digital design, which continues to be a major source of inspiration for his art.

Tiberiu Chelcea, "Ripples" Project Coordinator, (412) 609-2047,
Jennifer Drinkwater, Design on Main Gallery Director, (515) 708-2825,
Heather Sauer, College of Design Communications, (515) 294-9289,