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ISU College of Design students win top awards in Studies in Creativity exhibition

November 04, 2015


AMES, Iowa — Eight students from the Iowa State University College of Design won awards in the "Studies in Creativity" juried exhibition sponsored by the ISU Student Union Board.

Juror Wayne Allison, art and design instructor at North Iowa Area Community College, selected 40 works by 33 students for the show, which is on display through Dec. 8 in the Gallery of the Iowa State Memorial Union. He presented awards at an opening reception Oct. 27.

Integrated studio arts sophomore Breanna Kixmiller with her Best of Show-winning "Truth and a Lie (Inspired by Copley)" acrylic paintings (2015).

Integrated studio arts sophomore Breanna Kixmiller, Walnut, won Best of Show for her acrylic paintings titled "Truth and a Lie (Inspired by Copley)." She completed the winning work for her eight-week introductory painting class, taught by Associate Professor Barbara Walton, art and visual culture.

"We were asked to choose a master painter and replicate a painting that included a human form. We then were supposed to respond to the painting with a self-portrait. I chose 'Mrs. Thomas Gage' by John Singleton Copley for my masterwork and decided to have fun with my self-portrait," Kixmiller said.

Kixmiller painted herself in a similar pose with her arm propped on a sofa, but dressed in a sweatshirt with a towel wrapped around her head, in contrast to the fancy gown and turban-like headpiece worn by Copley's subject.

"The most challenging aspect of this painting was recreating my face. Since I know what I look like, I knew the small quirks—the bump in my nose and the irregularities in my skin tone—that I needed to include to make it look realistic and recognizable," Kixmiller said. "It was also my first time painting skin tone, so that was a challenge in itself! I had to use more white than I expected because my skin is so light."

Juror Wayne Allison, art and design instructor at North Iowa Area Community College, selected 40 works by 33 students for the show, which is on display through Dec. 8 in the Gallery of the Iowa State Memorial Union. He presented awards at an opening reception Oct. 27.

Merit Award-winner "Leaving Your Mark" (acrylic, 2015) by fifth-year landscape architecture student Molly Murtha.

Merit Awards
Merit Award winners included fifth-year landscape architecture student Molly Murtha, Dimock, South Dakota, for "Leaving Your Mark" (acrylic), a master study of Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, Lynda Lowe and Caravaggio; integrated visual arts graduate student Matthew Obbink, Ames, for "Industrialist's Signal Horn" (brass, rubber ball, cherry wood); and integrated studio arts senior Kat Schmidt, Van Meter, for "Shaman's Dream" (woodblock print).

Murtha's winning painting also was a project for Walton's introductory acrylic painting class this fall.

"The first assignment was to combine a historical or modern master painting with a contemporary master composition and include three of seven given design elements, of which I chose line, decal and texture," Murtha said.

"I found that I really enjoyed [the ParkeHarrisons'] black and white photography. A lot of their work is kind of creepy, but very intriguing in the way they use human form and landscape. It tied in well with the skull of the Caravaggio painting," she said.

"To spare myself a full human figure in my first painting, I found a way to zoom in on what was to me a very dynamic section with the hand, quill, book and skull. One of my favorite aspects is the texture of the skull. I used modeling clay to raise the form from the painting with the intent of viewers being able to interact with the piece not only visually but also in a tactile sense—you can feel the ridges of the cheek bones and brow as you run your fingers across it."

The white concentric circles and geometric form of the hand in the upper right of her painting were inspired by Lowe's work, Murtha said.

Honorable Mentions
Honorable Mentions went to integrated visual arts graduate student Xin Chen, Ames, for "My Love" (silver); and graphic design seniors Sarah Van Berkum, Spencer, and Corbin Zahrt, Adel, for "Datum" (publication).

Purchase Award
In addition to the juror's awards, the Student Union Board presented Kelly Devitt, Story City, sophomore in integrated studio arts, with its purchase award for "Chuck Close Master Study" (acrylic).

A complete list of artists with work in the exhibition:

Anne Anthony, junior, pre-BPMI, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (two works)
Maddy Baker, senior, graphic design, West Des Moines
Kai Brown, senior, graphic design, Decorah
Xin Chen, graduate, integrated visual arts, Ames
Charlie Coffey, freshman, journalism, Bettendorf
Clark Colby, graduate, architecture, Urbandale
Kelly Devitt, sophomore, integrated studio arts, Story City (two works)
Katie DuVal, sophomore, integrated studio arts, Logan
Abigail Eoriatti, senior, integrated studio arts, Ankeny
Abby Goodenow, junior, graphic design, Okoboji (two works)
Mason Howerzyl, sophomore, landscape architecture, Pella
Ashley Huisman, freshman, pre-graphic design, Urbandale
Robert Jinkins, graduate, integrated visual arts, Cedar Rapids (two works)
Sabrina Johnson, graduate, architecture, Bellevue, Nebraska (two works)
Hayse Jorgensen, sophomore, integrated studio arts, Mason City
Breanna Kixmiller, sophomore, integrated studio arts, Walnut
Chelsea McConnell, senior, integrated studio arts, Des Moines
Amanda Miller, senior, biological/pre-medical illustration, Edina, Minnesota
Emily Miller, sophomore, graphic design, Fairfield
Ashley Minnick, senior, integrated studio arts, Council Bluffs
Molly Murtha, senior, landscape architecture, Dimock, South Dakota (two works
Allison Myers, senior, architecture, Batavia, Illinois
Aaron Nostwich, senior, integrated studio arts, Roland
Matthew Obbink, graduate, integrated visual arts, Ames (two works)
Zena Olberding, sophomore, integrated studio arts, Carroll
Abigail Poplawski, sophomore, integrated studio arts, Hawthorn Woods, Illinois
Kat Schmidt, senior, integrated studio arts, Van Meter
Elizabeth Scott, junior, kinesiology and health, Johnston
Joelle Swanson, junior, interior design, Gilbert
Sarah Van Berkum, senior, graphic design, Spencer
Xiaohe Wang, sophomore, integrated studio arts, Nanjing, China (two works)
Sophia Wermers, graduate, integrated visual arts, Elizabeth, Colorado
Corbin Zahrt, senior, graphic design, Adel

Letitia Kenemer, Memorial Union, (515) 294-0971,
Breanna Kixmiller, Integrated Studio Arts student, (712) 784-3525,
Molly Murtha, Landscape Architecture student, (605) 505-0358,
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289,