By JOE SUTTER
Messenger staff writer
Creativity and artistic innovation were plentiful at the annual Triton Area High School Art Show this Sunday, according to Maureen Seamonds.
"We had some real imaginative art this year," said Seamonds, one of the Iowa Central Community College faculty members in charge of the show. "Some of the pieces were really different. There was a lot more 3-D art this year."
In spite of the winter weather, approximately 60 people showed up for the awards ceremony Sunday afternoon. A total of 60 art pieces were in the show, and 30 prizes in all were awarded.
Seamonds said this was the seventh year that the show had been held at the Triton Gallery, in the lobby of Decker Auditorium on the Iowa Central Community College campus. First prize winners in each category receive a $400 scholarship to ICCC and a $50 cash prize. In addition, multiple pieces in each category receive a Merit Award and a $200 ICCC scholarship.
Fort Dodge Senior High art teacher Jennifer Dutcher said being able to exhibit work is great for her students.
"We like to exhibit their work a lot. We exhibit work at the mall, and also do a show in the permanent collection art gallery downtown," Dutcher said. "We've started showing artwork outside of traditional galleries, wherever there is some kind of event. We just did one at St. Olaf church because they had a choir concert there."
The pieces showed great variety. Sculptures were made from any kind of material, from VHS tapes and CDs to fishhooks and pheasant feathers. Students created images of soccer matches, pears made from cheerios, surreal crystalline pedestals, elephant-shaped teapots, and Marvel comic characters. Roberto Eraw Rios, of Storm Lake, submitted two paintings done on torn cardboard; one was an owl holding a baby bird, the other a deer with a cross between its eyes entitled "The Coming of the Savior."
Seamonds said the Storm Lake art teachers, Elizabeth White and Jessica Huss, were "trying to get (the students) to do different compositional things, to think outside the box."
Christine So, a Clarion-Goldfield Sophomore from Hong Kong, said she got the inspiration for her merit-winning drawing over Christmas break while looking at photos in a friend's scrapbook.
All the artists have clearly been working long and hard to perfect their craft, but not all are long-time competitors. First-prize winner Madi Schachtner of Humboldt said this was her first time entering the show. A senior, she plans to study graphic design at ICCC next year.
The prizes were awarded by Richard Hanson and Larrison Seidle, adjunct faculty members at ICCC.
Seidle teaches graphic design and drawing. He said this was his first year as a juror for the contest.
"There were a lot of good pieces," said Seidle. "It was hard to narrow it down to one for each category. I'm glad (Hanson) was there; it is a lot easier to pick a winner with two people."
A big part of what makes a winner, he said, was a piece's ability to catch your attention.
"It's not just what's technically really good, but also what's intriguing and original, what's appealing to the eye," he said.
Seidler explained what he liked about Schachtner's first-prize painting, a brightly colored close-up of a dog's face titled "Kolorful K-9."
"It works because it immediately grabs you visually; the color is really bold for a high school art student. It works on an emotional level, because the dog looks sad, or like it wants something so why is it so bright and cheerful? Also the texture quality to it, because it's an 'encaustic' a form of painting with wax. That gives it a real built-up look."
He also praised the first place drawing entry, a self-portrait in charcoal by Chris Helmick of Fort Dodge Senior High called "Cognition."
"It's a unique image, and original. He didn't take the easy way out; he chose a difficult angle of the face," Seidler said. "He showed a lot of technical skill."
Seidler said both he and Hanson "were both impressed overall at the level of uniqueness and originality."
Contact Joe Sutter at (515) 573-2141 or email@example.com