April 05, 2016
Three named winners in annual art competition
CARBONDALE, Ill. – Caleb Clausing, Dallas LaCassa and Ileada Quezada are the winners of the 2016 Rickert-Ziebold Trust Award competition at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Clausing, an industrial design student from Crete, Ill. presented a “Rainwater Planter,” which utilizes downspout rainwater to water a barrel planter. Excess water filters through the system and runs out from a final gutter. He plans to put his project on the crowd-funding site KickStarter in order to be able to produce and sell his idea. Ultimately, he’d like to be in business for himself, or with an industrial design business.
“People don’t want to make the changes necessary to ‘go green,’” he explained. “My idea is to make green choices more accessible, to modify the design to what people do rather than asking them to change to it.”
LaCassa, a ceramics student from Lake in the Hills, Ill., presented a series of ceramic sculptures he called “Walking through Texture.” He talked about the natural origins of clay, the intimacy of working it by hand, and then the geometric and organic shapes he gave it, along with bright, sometimes glittery, not-found-in-nature colors, as leading to a sort of relationship between the artist and the material. He’s hoping to find support in artist residencies as he continues to hone his skills.
“I didn’t have specific ideas about what I was going to do when I created these pieces,” he said. “I was playing around with it.”
Quezada, a sculpture and ceramics student from Firebaugh, Calif., created “A Ciegas (Blindly)”, a multi-piece sculpture of ceramic and rebar that represents the toxicity violence brings to many Mexican villages. Her sculpture, which she noted is at “heart-level,” is a depiction of a village with water cisterns on the roofs – cisterns labeled as toxic waste containers.
Quezada said she feels a kinship and yet also disconnected with Mexico. Born in the United States, she finds Mexico, the home of not-distant ancestors, an unfamiliar and sometimes frightening place, and yet one that is part of her heritage.
Aaron Scott, associate professor of design and chair of the Rickert-Ziebold committee, commended this year’s exhibition as one of the most diverse, and one representing some of the best work of the current seniors.
“This is set up like a professional-level exhibition,” he said. “For many students, this is the first time they have the opportunity to develop an exhibition in a gallery environment.”
The three winners will divide a cash prize worth about $15,000.
The competition is open to senior art students. A faculty jury chooses the finalists based on a slide presentation of a body of the student’s work. Finalists have a limited time to set up an exhibition showcasing their work in the Surplus Gallery (Glove Factory, 432 W. Washington Ave.). Some create work specifically for the competition, others use work they’ve created over time.
The exhibit of all finalists’ work remains on display from now through April 8, when the exhibit closes with a reception and presentation of awards beginning at 5:30 p.m., awards at 6:30 p.m.
The award commemorates Joseph Rickert, a prominent lawyer and former state senator from Waterloo, who loved the arts. His friendship with Delyte W. Morris and Henry W. Shryock led him to appreciate the vital role SIU plays in the artistic culture of Southern Illinois. His family established the award in 1974 in his memory.
The amount of the award varies each year based on earnings from the trust, but it is a substantial award designed to help students transition to the next phase of their careers.
Here is a complete list of finalists, by hometown, with area of specialization:
Albion – Alexis Kimbrell, drawing.
Bloomington – Matthew Frey, communication design.
Chicago – Sharon Avila, metalsmithing.
Crete – Caleb Clausing, industrial design.
Crystal Lake – Anthony M. Bleecker, industrial design.
Hoffman Estates – Anjali Singh, glass.
Lake in the Hills – Dallas LaCassa, ceramics.
Marion – Clint Wilkie, glass.
Firebaugh – Ileana Quezada, sculpture and ceramics.