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ISU art professor C. Arthur Croyle goes ‘Back to Square One’ in Design on Main exhibition

September 29, 2014

C. Arthur Croyle's "Back to Square One"
(oil, acrylic, assemblage, 84" x 36"
Croyle's "Last But Not Least"
(oil, acrylic, 42" x 84")


AMES, Iowa — Paintings and assemblages by C. Arthur Croyle, Iowa State University associate professor of integrated studio arts, will be featured in an exhibition Oct. 10-24 at the ISU Design on Main Gallery, 203 Main St. in downtown Ames.

"Back to Square One" will open with a gallery talk by Croyle at 6 p.m. followed by a reception until 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10.

The work in the exhibition reflects a dramatic shift in Croyle's creative expression, which has spanned decades and focused on representational art.

"Two distinctly different directions are evident," Croyle explained. "Geometry and the careful division of space are major consideration in all the pieces, but my most recent work departs from the purely abstract and incorporates imagery that represents my childhood in Akron, Ohio, during the 1950s and '60s, when the city was at its height as an industrial and manufacturing center."

The abstract work has its origins in two influential periods of experience, he said. The geometric proportional systems harken back to his education and then practice as a graphic designer.

"I was fascinated with the history, application and constraints within systems that have lasted millennia and were handed down through the ages from one culture to another," he said.

The second major inspiration derives from a series of visits Croyle made to Rome a decade ago. Engaged in teaching university classes during the afternoons, he spent mornings as so many have before him, sketching the ruins of the Roman Empire.

"The Romans were fastidious and accomplished builders, yet time, the elements and subsequent civilizations have all exacted their toll upon their once 'perfect' structures. The idea that anything intended to be perfect was at best a transient effort intrigued me," Croyle said.

"The compositions in these paintings are constructed with attention to proportional accuracy. As I painted over them again and again, I began to disturb and stress that notion, hinting at the vulnerability of perfection and its ever-degrading condition."

Croyle's current work extends his interest in proportion and the transient nature of perfection with his own memories of his childhood growing up in an industrial city. In addition to reintroducing imagery into his paintings, Croyle also has brought assemblage and electrical elements into this newest body of work.

Exhibition hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays and 4 to 8 p.m. Fridays or by appointment through Friday, Oct. 24. All events are free and open to the public.

An extension of ISU's College of Design, Design on Main seeks to strengthen creative connections between the university and the community through arts education, artist-led projects and interactive events.

Croyle received a bachelor of arts in German and a bachelor of fine arts in graphic design from the University of Akron, Ohio, in 1976 and a master of fine arts in graphic design from Indiana University, Bloomington, in 1982. Throughout his studies he maintained a strong connection to drawing and painting through illustration.

He joined the Iowa State faculty in 1987 and has taught graphic design, graphic design history, drawing, illustration and painting in the graphic design, biological/pre-medical illustration and integrated studio arts programs. He was director of the BPMI program from 2003 to 2008 and served as director of graduate education for the integrated visual arts graduate program from 2010 to 2014.

As he grew "increasingly disenchanted with the corporate culture of design," Croyle developed a passion for fine art. He has exhibited his work extensively in regional and national exhibitions.

C. Arthur Croyle, Integrated Studio Arts, (515) 294-8909,
Lyndsay Nissen, Design on Main, (515) 231-2907,
Jennifer Drinkwater, Design on Main, (515) 708-2825,
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289,