2017 DUMA Biennial artist, Cindy Vondran

Cindy Vondran, Rockton, Illinois
Avian Nightmare, 2016, digital, 21×27

I live in Illinois, about two hours northwest of Chicago. My first exposure to photography began with a film camera. I was always disappointed when my photos came back from the lab and were not what I had envisioned. The transition to digital was a game changer. With editing software I felt I finally had control over how my photos turned out. I now have the ability to make my photos look better than I had shot in camera.

Digital artistry takes it a step further. The possibilities are infinite. I love this new medium. I enjoy creating traditional art using the latest technology. I feel that we are in the beginning stages of a new art movement. I am choosing to call this movement Pixelism. There are so many choices and options that it is sometimes difficult to stay with just one theme.

I am mostly drawn to things that are sensual. Botanicals are one of my favorite subjects. I want my images to tell a story that is full of passion and honesty, and sometimes raises questions. I strive to make art that leaves a profound impression on the viewer.

2017 DUMA Biennial artist, Lisa Towers

Lisa Towers, Dubuque, Iowa
The Hunter’s Dilemma, 2017, oil, 17×14

Lisa Towers is a classical realist painter and teacher of art in Dubuque. She earned her BFA from the University of Miami (and Vanderbilt University) and worked from many years in the film industry before turning to fine art. She studied with painting greats David Leffel, Gregg Kreutz, and Michael Shane Neill and was influenced by the work of Thomas Hart Benton through three of Benton’s students. Towers has participated in many group exhibitions including Oil Painters of America and Audubon Artists and has had four solo exhibitions of her work. She has been teaching  painting and drawing since 1997, and currently teaches at Studio Works in Dubuque. In the fall she will begin teaching art classes as adjunct faculty at the Divine Word College in Epworth, Iowa.

Towers is also a certificated paralegal, an avid tennis player, and a semi-accomplished pianist.

2017 DUMA Biennial artist, Grant W. Thye

Grant W. Thye, Grundy Center, Iowa
Slow Moving Clouds, 2016, oil, 16×20

Grant William Thye splits time between his two studios, one in downtown Chicago and the other in rural Iowa. Growing up on a small family farm and being raised by an analytical cubist were both major factors in shaping his artistic temperament. He likes to manipulate thoughts, ideas, and objects to work in ways not originally intended and also turn nothing into something. A large part of his vernacular comes from the natural world which has been influenced by work of the Regionalists, the Chicago Imagists, graffiti, and cartoons. His work is in the permanent collection of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, where it is currently on display. He has been exhibited nationally in museums, galleries, colleges, and other public as well as private spaces. He has been featured in various books, publications, and national advertising campaigns, as well as giving artist talks and workshops to students ranging from elementary to graduate school.

2017 DUMA Biennial artist, Jeffrey A. Thompson

Jeffrey A. Thompson, Des Moines, Iowa
Duchamp After Arcimboldo and Man Ray, 2016, pencil, 23 3/8 x 17 3/4

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.

2017 DUMA Biennial artist, Greg Thatcher

Greg Thatcher, Fairfield, Iowa
Yew Trees #118, 2015, hand colored print, 23 1/ x 32

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.

2017 DUMA Biennial artist, Amenda J. Tate Corso

Turbulence (Inkblot)
Amenda J. Tate Corso, West Des Moines, Iowa
Turbulence (Inkblot), 2016, copper and mixed media, 40×30

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.

2017 DUMA Biennial artist, Brian Stewart

Brian Stewart, St Paul, Minnesota
River of Industry, 1905, 2016, oil, 12×16

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.”

2017 DUMA Biennial artist, Karen Sebesta

Karen Sebesta, Hudson, Wisconsin
Pagosa, 2016, clay, 6x11x11
Moonlight, 2016, clay, 6×15 1/2 x 15 1/2

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.

2017 DUMA Biennial artist, Robert H. Rivoire

Robert H. Rivoire, Galena, Illinois
Scattering Crows, 2015, photoprint, 12 1/2 x 22 1/2

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.

2017 DUMA Biennial artist, Randy Richmond

Randy Richmond, Muscatine, Iowa
12/6/2015 3:21:00 PM, 2016, Selenium Toned Van Dyke Brown print
4/20/2016 7:33:00 AM, 2016, Selenium Toned Van Dyke Brown print

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.