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Students to curate latest exhibit at UNI Gallery of Art

December 20, 2011

Darrell Taylor, director, UNI Gallery of Art, 319-273-6134,
Stacey Christensen, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,


CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The University of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art will present "Modern Motives: Influences in Today’s Art" from Monday, Jan. 9 through Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012. Sponsored in part by Northern Iowa Potters and Sculptors.

Artists' lectures associated with the exhibition will take place at 7 p.m. in Kamerick Art Building Art Auditorium, KAB 111. Thaddeus Erdahl will discuss "Finding Personal Artifacts" on Jan. 18, and Tom Bartel will speak Feb. 8. Receptions will follow each lecture.

Erdahl's Honest Abe

"Modern Motives" is an invitational exhibition curated by art students Stephanie Gonzalez and Bryan Coons with the assistance of the UNI Student Curatorial Committee. The exhibitors include west coast-based emerging artists Kiel Johnson, Mike Leavitt, and Skinner as well as nationally known ceramic artists Tom Bartel and UNI alumnus Thaddeus Erdahl.

According to the student curators, "This project is a first of its kind in which students get to go through the entire process of organizing an art exhibition from start to finish. This process allows the students to grow and mature in a professional setting, rather than just within the confines of their studios."

Tom Bartel received his M.F.A. in ceramics from Indiana University, Bloomington and has exhibited extensively in this country as well as China, Korea, Japan, and the Czech Republic. Bartel's work is inspired by the human form and manifests in humorous, sometimes macabre ways.

Thaddeus Erdahl received his M.FA. from the University of Florida, Gainesville and recently completed an artist residency followed by a six-month program manager position at the prestigious Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tenn. Erdahls's work is also figural, but as he states his sculptural surfaces are "metaphors for an emotional state."

Kiel Johnson is an L.A.-based artist working primarily in cardboard, chipboard, and glue to make complex and whimsical representations of mechanical objects. Johnson is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach and is widely exhibited. In 2008 he received a Pollock-Krasner grant. According to Seattle-based Mike Leavitt, his company Intuition Kitchen Productions is a "one-man company of fine craft, sculpture, portraiture, performance, education, architecture, and animation." Leavitt has exhibited his cardboard Hip Hop shoes, pop culture action figures, and 'Vita Vera' game boards worldwide.

Self-taught artist Skinner maintains a studio in Sacramento, Calif. where he creates paintings, murals, and sculptures influenced by 80s pop culture, heavy metal bands, and Dungeons and Dragons. His work is shown nationally and internationally and has been published in Juxtapoz and Hi Fructose magazines.

The exhibition and receptions are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday to Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday; and noon to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. The gallery is located at the northeast corner of Hudson Road and West 27th Street, Cedar Falls, on the main floor of the Kamerick Art Building. For more information, contact Darrell Taylor, director of the UNI Gallery of Art, at 319-273-6134 or, or visit