"Clean Sweep" by Lyndsay Nissen, Best of Show winner
"Surge" by Fidencio Martinez, second place
"Cotton Mouth Episode 2: I Can't Breathe" by LaMar Barber, third place
"Collapse/Clap" by Sarita Zaleha, honorable mention
AMES, Iowa — Lyndsay Nissen, an Iowa State University graduate student in integrated visual arts, won Best of Show in "Bits, Pixels and Practice – Oh My! A New Media Juried Show" on display through Feb. 28 at the ISU Design on Main Gallery, 203 Main St., Ames.
Nissen, of Ames, earned top honors for "Clean Sweep," an installation featuring a claw machine in which the usual stuffed animals or other prizes are replaced by trash (discarded plastic grocery bags, etc.) and live prairie plants. Participants can choose either to try to pick up trash with the claw or to rescue a plant.
The machine also displays nitrate concentration data collected by the United States Geological Survey from rivers across the US. As the nitrate levels rise, corn kernels are dispensed into the machine through a hopper, covering the contents and hindering retrieval.
Juror Jordan Weber, curator of the Fluxx Collective in Des Moines, was impressed with the interactivity of Nissen's installation, its effectiveness in conveying the environmental impact of Iowa agriculture, and its innovative use of material, he said.
Fidencio Martinez, Iowa City, a graduate student in painting and drawing at the University of Iowa, was awarded second place for "Surge," a 6-foot-by-11-foot drawing constructed of tiny hand-cut maps that alludes to immigration.
"Cotton Mouth Episode 2: I Can't Breathe," a performance-based video by LaMar Barber, Iowa City, a graduate student in media, social practice and design at the University of Iowa, took third place.
And Sarita Zaleha's "Collapse/Clap," a video documenting tourists' reactions to ice calving from glaciers, received an honorable mention. Zaleha, Iowa City, is a graduate student in printmaking at the University of Iowa.
"As a land-grant university of science and technology whose mission includes community outreach, Iowa State is a fitting place to host an exhibition featuring new media work," said Jennifer Drinkwater, Design on Main Gallery director.
"Many of the pieces in this show address social issues and practice in some way. The winning works actively engage the viewer or turn viewer into participant," she said.
About Design on Main
An extension of Iowa State'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. Spring 2015 gallery hours are 3 to 6 p.m. Monday and Friday; 2 to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday (closed Tuesday and Sunday). Exhibitions and events are free and open to the public.
Jennifer Drinkwater, Design on Main, (515) 708-2825, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lyndsay Nissen, Integrated Visual Arts, (515) 231-2907, email@example.com
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289, firstname.lastname@example.org