My current work is influenced by Baroque painting, with it’s exaggerated and theatrical tenebrism and heightened and dramatic emotional content. The implicit goal is to contemporize the Baroque method of painting with still-lifes whose subject matter are expressive of current tastes and commerce.
For example, many Baroque still-lifes were highly metaphorical and aspirational, consisting of flowers that were rare and seasonally out of sync. My floral still-lifes are just as opulent and not likely to occur together in nature, yet today they are readily available, thanks to international commerce. What they also have in common with their inspirations is that they are vanitas – reminders of beauty’s inevitable decay.
My plein air yew tree series is based upon the trees in St. Mary’s churchyard, Gloucestershire, England. Working on location during my summers, since 1991 has given me the opportunity to become more aware of my perception and feeling for the trees.
I am enticed by the heightened dramatic quality of the light in Painswick and have to be very attentive to identify the subtle changes and nuances within the trees. These drawings are non-compromising, specific, literal examples of what I actually see and experience.
My work has become a visual metaphor for my inner experience. My goal is to share the special relationship I have with these trees with the viewer.
Amenda Tate Corso was born in Des Moines. Studies in mechanical engineering at Iowa State University led her to the realization that her interest in “how things work” would be better satisfied by artistic endeavors.
Amenda studied metalsmithing under professor Chuck Evans before moving to Colorado in 1998. Amenda worked as a jeweler’s apprentice to Todd Reed in Boulder, Colorado while completing her undergraduate studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with an emphasis in Jewelry Design and Metalsmithing.
Since returning to Iowa, Amenda spends time creating in her artist studio located in the Fitch Building, downtown Des Moines. Her works address topics such as identity, individuality, longevity, and social culture in our digital era.
Amenda is a current Artist-In Residence with Area 515 Makerspace in Des Moines and former Artist-in-Residence with Ballet Des Moines. Her works have been featured in various trade publications, the Denver Post, the book Art Jewelry Today 2, and on the front page of the Des Moines Register.
Once called a visual raconteur, Brian is known and collected nationally for the storytelling quality of his paintings featuring the everyday, the overlooked and the underappreciated. He’s a signature member of the exclusive Plein Air Painters of America and an artist member of the American Society of Marine Artists, California Art Club and the
Oil Painters of America.
Brian has had several one-man shows throughout the United States including two Museum shows and numerous group shows. His work has been awarded and featured in major publications. He won back to back “Best of Show” awards at the Coos Art Museum’s annual maritime show. He has served as juror and lecturer for national plein air shows and been the subject of TV and on-line interviews.
His early training was at The Art Center in Los Angeles and later at Atelier’s Lack and LeSueur in Minnesota where he learned the classic, academic fundamentals as they were taught in Paris a century ago. He has taught workshops throughout the U.S. and abroad and also released an instructional video and recently written a book on the
rebirth of plein air painting: “An Artist’s Journey Via Catalina.”
Karen Sebesta is a resident of Hudson who has a love for the art of the Southwest. She has always been drawn to pottery made by the native people of Mexico and the Southwestern United States, particularly the smooth feel and rich color of the highly polished black pottery and carvings and textures used to decorate the vessels. Over 30 years ago Karen started taking pottery classes using the potter’s wheel and glazing functional pieces. While she enjoyed this type of pottery, Karen made a style shift in 1999 after she began studying with Michael Wisner of Colorado. Under the tutelage of Mr. Wisner and master potter Juan Quezada of Mata Ortiz, Mexico, Karen learned the native tradition of making pottery including making clay, coil building, polishing, and firing.
From making clay to using unique firing processes, the creation of Karen’s pottery is very labor intensive, but it’s this approach that she enjoys the most. She spends hours on each piece hand-building, sanding, polishing and then firing the pottery. Karen feels the pottery truly comes alive once she has polished/burnished it. Over the years, she has studied various pit-firing processes of blackening the pottery and using horse-hair to create singed lines on the light colored pieces. Incorporating lessons learned in firing, Karen has also developed her own firing process to achieve rich earth-tone finishes, which fit well with the style of pottery she creates. Inspiration comes from many places, but mainly in shapes and color in nature and the peaceful surroundings where she lives.
I take photographs with the hope that viewers may appreciate elements of beauty in the world around that they might not have noticed before. Each image reflects some unique circumstance that was simply there and which I had the good fortune to notice.
My photos have been displayed at the gallery of the College of DuPage as well as in its literary magazine, Prairie Light. The Glen Ellyn Library in suburban Chicago displayed about thirty photographs last fall and a series of five of my photos comprise a permanent installation in the Glen Ellyn Park District boardroom.
Randy Richmond works as a photographic artist. After spending 20 years in the dark(room) he carefully and suspiciously stepped into the light of a glowing computer monitor. His last years of strictly film based photography were spent lugging around a large Kodak 8×10 view camera. This made the transition from silver-halide to pixels a difficult one, but it also instilled in him a dedication to detail and a strong appreciation for the aesthetics of past photographic processes. Randy now pursues several photographic projects while subverting the photographic paradigm, by converting silver based materials to digital, as well as using imagery that began as pixels and transporting that imagery back in history to handmade fictional cabinet cards and handmade alternative process prints. Most recently Randy has rediscovered the challenge of the traditional single image captured in both landscape and still-life. This body of work is printed as handmade Van Dyke Brown and Cyanotype prints, and digitally on Japanese kozo papers. He utilizes this cross-pollination of photographic mediums like ingredients in a photographic cookbook to communicate concepts and observations.
Stretching the edges of the photographic image to tell a story has been the focus of Randy Richmond’s work since his student days at the University of Iowa. Randy has received the attention of several authors with his storytelling ability, resulting in several book cover contracts, including one for Beacon Press.
Randy has shown his work in numerous solo, group, invitational, and juried exhibits nationally and internationally. His work has been selected for three of the traveling small print exhibitions “Americas Biennial.” The third exhibit was a special 10th anniversary edition showcasing the best of the previous five exhibits. His interpretation of environmental issues has been the focus of special exhibits created for the Door County Land Trust, the Keeweenaw Land Trust, and the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and the Nahant Marsh. His work is in permanent collections at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa; the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa; The Center For Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Colorado; Kishwaukee College in Malta, Illinois; and Project Art of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. He balances his creative time with teaching photography as an adjunct instructor at St. Ambrose University in Davenport.
Trey Reis is a visual and sound artist from Des Moines. Working with collage techniques, his work explores the deconstruction and re-contextualization of 20th and 21st century media forms, both printed and recorded.
The process is one of abstraction, wherein varying eras of formal and purposeful content are used to create spaces and images denying recognizable forms.
The study began with two sound installations, “Century Sound” (2014), and “Muzak” (2015). The installations transformed gallery rooms into listening spaces for audiences to experience sound collages. Old sources of recorded media were combined into layered pieces without formal beginning or end, wherein sounds were presented side-by-side without context of era.
In 2016, the exploration of abstraction led to an ongoing series of visual collages re-contextualizing decades of printed media into abstract forms. The process serves to strip each individual piece of its era, and replace it into a postmodern framework, unshaped by the visual divide between content from different decades.
Mary Phelan is a Chicago artist whose paintings celebrate the poetry of the ordinary in the city environment. Seeking to connect the viewer with what is often overlooked, her works also hold meanings that transcend their immediate subject. The underlying context, informed by Asian principles of feng shui, attempts to address deeper truths about the human experience.
Phelan’s career includes: chairing the Life Drawing and Foundations Departments at the American Academy of Art, Chicago; magazine and book illustration; and commissioned works for universities, hospitals, museums, and private collections. She has exhibited extensively in the Midwest, with solo shows presented in several museums and galleries.
Earlier commissioned work includes many portraits. She is represented in the collections of the University of Illinois (Urbana), Robert Morris College (Chicago), the University of Illinois, Chicago, and the Library of Congress, Washington D.C., among other institutions. Examples of her illustrations can be seen on permanent installations at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago, and in numerous publications, including The Urban Tree Book (Crown Publishers/Random House).