AMES, Iowa — An exhibition of abstract photographs by Iowa State University integrated visual arts graduate student Xiaohan Chen will be on display April 14-21 at the ISU Design on Main Gallery, 203 Main St. in downtown Ames.

Chen’s Master of Fine Arts thesis exhibition, “A World in a Flower,” will open with a reception from 6:06 to 8:08 p.m. Friday, April 14, and include brief remarks by her about the ideas and inspiration behind the show. Gallery hours are 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 2 to 7 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

“ ‘To see a world in a flower, and a bodhi in a leaf’ is one of the most important Buddhist philosophies. It explains how a world of information may be discovered through a simple object, like a flower,” Chen said. In her work, she transforms flowers into abstract explorations of color, pattern, perspective and meaning.

The gallery installation will feature her images printed on large pieces of silk hung throughout the space, allowing viewers “to wander through and lose themselves in it,” she said.

About the artist

Chen grew up in Fuzhou, a large city in Fujian Province on the southeast coast of China, and arrived at Iowa State in 2010 to study graphic design. Since then she has explored and observed nature “to invent her own way of expressing what she has seen via photography.” She received her MFA in graphic design in 2014 and will receive her MFA in integrated visual arts in May.

Chen’s work has been exhibited in the 2015 and 2016 ISU integrated visual arts graduate student exhibitions and has received several honors, including an Award of Excellence in the 33rd Annual College Photography Contest (2013) and finalist in the 32nd, 34th and 37th Annual College Photography Contests (2012, 2014 and 2017); and third prizes in the 2016 Golden Monday National Photography Contest and Global Xiapu Intertidal Zone Photography Contest, both in China.


Xiaohan Chen, Integrated Visual Arts, xhc@iastate.edu
Kyle Renell, Design on Main Gallery, designonmain@iastate.edu
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289, hsauer@iastate.edu