News from the School of Art and Art History
News from the School of Art and Art History

Welcome to the School of Art and Art History Newsletter

The students, faculty, and alumni of the School of Art and Art History at the University of Iowa create extraordinary art and scholarship. Our newsletter will keep you up to date.

Please submit your items and images for the SAAH newsletter. We'd love to share your accomplishments!

Faculty News

T.J. Dedeaux-Norris

T.J. Dedeaux-Norris, Professor of Painting and Drawing, is holding their first major museum retrospective, “T.J. Dedeaux-Norris Presents The Estate of Tameka Jenean Norris,” at the Figge Art Museum, October 24, 2020 - January 31, 2021.

In their art practice T.J. Dedeaux-Norris (pronouns they/them) adopts different personas, including Black academic artist Tameka Jenean Norris. The distinction between artist and persona is frequently blurred in the resulting artworks which are simultaneously autobiographic and dramatized.

Dedeaux-Norris will use this exhibition to establish an artist’s estate and retrospective for recently deceased persona Tameka Jenean Norris. Tameka Jenean Norris’ entire body of work will be on view including fabric assemblage paintings, videos, music and works on paper. Several performances will accompany the exhibition celebrating the life and death of Tameka Jenean Norris. The resulting exhibition will explore the complex legacy of an artist’s identity after their passing.

Dedeaux-Norris is also featured in the group exhibition “Time Change/Change Time” at the Biggin Gallery at Auburn University through November 6. This exhibition explores persistent American issues including gun violence, contemporary Black life, protest, and voting.

Terry Conrad

Terry Conrad, Professor and Program Head of Printmaking, has spent much of the pandemic transitioning to being a new parent and making new experiments in his studio. He is currently preparing to present a survey of works opening January 2021 from the past ten years at the Opalka Gallery at Sage College in Albany, NY. The exhibition will present community-based programming, performative sculptural tools, prints and sound. A catalog will be made documenting the activities and works in the exhibition.

In the Fall of 2020, Terry is participating in "Climate in Crisis: Featuring Terry James Conrad, Nadia Huggins, and Tali Weinberg" at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, a Mid-America Print Council (MAPC) Portfolio called "Tracked Prints/Layered Sound," and he is also participating on the online exhibition Aegean at The Painters Gallery.

In the late Spring, Terry is scheduled to shadow scientists from the University of Rhode Island and Texas A&M University studying manganese cycling in marine environments in the Gulf of Mexico.

Alumni News

Myrna in the village of Kot Goan in the district of Gorkha, Nepal

Myrna Balk (Class of 1961) has won many awards for her art related to social action. As a student at Iowa, she started the civil rights movement for non-discriminatory housing and the first CORE (Congress of Racial Equality Chapter) on campus. Through her expressive sculptures of clay, bamboo and steel and a broad grasp of printmaking technique, including etchings, monotypes and woodcuts, she asserts the essential dignity and humanity of abused women. 

Most recently, in 2020, a joint Live Arts Boston grant from the Boston Foundation was awarded to Myrna in collaboration with Fernadina Chan, a well-respected local dance choreographer with the Continuum Dance Group. In 2021 they will use Myrna’s 10-foot diameter wood sculpture as the set for a new original dance reflecting on contemporary issues of immigration and abuse.

According to Amnesty International USA, "Myrna Balk’s art challenges the world to acknowledge the imperative need all of us to champion and promote human rights worldwide."

Learn more about Myrna Balk's art and social action on her website.

Kiowa Agency

Olivia von Gries (BAs in Art History and Studio Art, 2019) is currently an MA Art History student at the University of Oklahoma, researching modern and contemporary Native American art.

A show she co-curated, "Kiowa Agency: Stories of the Six," is on view through January 17, 2021 at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art on campus. From 1927 to 1929, while at the University of Oklahoma, six Kiowa artists created many paintings featuring Kiowa culture. Now referred to as the Kiowa Six, this cohort included Spencer Asah, James Auchiah, Jack Hokeah, Stephen Mopope, Lois Smoky, and Monroe Tsatoke. 

Previous scholarship about the group has credited Oscar B. Jacobson, who was the director of OU’s School of Art at the time, with “discovering” the Kiowa Six and having a pivotal role in their artistic production. While acknowledging that several individuals had an impact on their early careers, this exhibit aims to rewrite the narrative. Both before and after their short residencies at OU, members of the Kiowa Six acted as strong agents of cultural preservation and transmission. Asserting their own agency, they navigated individually the pressures of assimilation from the Kiowa Agency as well as external expectations for their artistic practices.

Yellowave (Rose) by Jiha Moon

Jiha Moon (Painting and Drawing MFA 2002, MA 2001) is currently featured in the exhibitions "45 at 45" at L.A. Louver Gallery and "Dis/placements" at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. Watch Jiha Moon’s Dis/placements conversation with curator Lilly Wei here.

Jiha Moon also has a solo exhibition, "Lucid Yellow," at Laney Contemporary in Savannah, November 13-January 23.

Gretchen Beck, "Gurey" (2020), mixed media, 22 x 30

Gretchen Beck (MFA Intermedia 1999) has gained artist representation at the Noon Powell Fine Art Gallery in London, England this fall.

View more of Gretchen's work on her website.

“Mucha Meets Iowa” mural by Ali Hval

Mucha Meets Iowa” by Ali Hval (MFA Painting & Drawing 2019) has been unveiled in Czech Village, Cedar Rapids. The mural spans the east side of the Novak Building adjacent to the National Czech and Slovak Museum & Library as the gateway to Czech Village facing the Cedar River.

In designing the mural, Hval studied Mucha and Art Nouveau, an artistic style popularized throughout Europe in the late 1800s and into the 20th century. Hval’s design reimagines Mucha’s work in the Art Nouveau style by incorporating local Iowan wildlife and plants. The center female figure is taken from one of Mucha’s pieces and has been tweaked by adding local flowers and plants, namely wild roses, black-eyed susans, and coneflowers, in a flower crown. Oak leaves and bicycle wheels are also encircling the figure. In the remaining arches, other Iowan elements are depicted, such as the goldfinch, morels, and bluebells, chronicling the abundance and variety of life across Iowa.

Hval currently lives and works in Iowa City. In 2019, she received her MFA with Honors at the University of Iowa in Painting and Drawing with a minor concentration in Ceramics. Her work is interdisciplinary, combining painting, fabric, ceramic, sculpture, and installation. She is a 2020 resident at the Chautauqua School of Art in Chautauqua, New York. In 2015, she was chosen as one of ten recipients for the nationally competitive $15,000 Windgate Fellowship by the Center of Creativity, Craft, and Design in Asheville, North Carolina. Ali graduated summa cum laude with Honors from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa in 2015 with a BFA in Painting and Drawing. She has had work in multiple exhibitions across the country, including Site: Brooklyn in New York, South Bay Contemporary in Los Angeles, and the Jackson Dinsdale Art Center at Hastings College curated by Kate Mothes. An avid muralist, she has completed over 14 public murals and projects in various communities across the Midwest. Learn more at

"Demonstration", monotype, collage and drawing, 30" x 22", 2016 Vicky Tomayko & Bert Yarborough

Bert Yarborough (Photography MFA 1973, MA 1972) is featured inCollusion: Collaborative Work from Six Artists” at Wellfleet Preservation Hall, MA, through November 6.

Collaborative Work from: Paul Bowen, M P Landis, Bert Yarborough (AKA: Triage);  Hayoon-Jay Lee & Bert Yarborough; Vicky Tomayko & Yvette Drury Dubinsky; Vicky Tomayko & Bert Yarborough 

This exhibition presents a variety of artistic pairings from a group of accomplished individuals, all of whom have created significant, individual bodies of work for decades. Their singular accomplishments have resulted in numerous national and international gallery and museum exhibitions. They have all taught in colleges, universities or workshop programs, where the spirit of collaboration is essential.

The work in this exhibition presents a variety of techniques and mediums including monotype, silkscreen, lithographic transfer, drawing, painting and collage.  The working processes vary widely as each pairing devised its own method of collaboration. Bowen, Landis and Yarborough worked primarily through the mail sending pieces back and forth in their more than 20 years of collaboration.  They meet at various intervals where all have to be in agreement before a work was deemed finished.

Vicky Tomayko and Yvette Drury Dubinsky work together in Dubinsky’s Truro studio where she houses a press that can accommodate work up to 40”x 70”.  Creating monoprints with a multitude of stencils, their large, layered, and richly colored works are rooted in place, evocative of land and sea. Tomayko and Yarborough, partners, live and work together and produce work that melds the deliberate and thoughtful with the gestural and spontaneous. Lee and Yarborough started working together during a Maryland Institute College of Art summer residency Lee received at the Fine Arts Work Center. They worked together and through the mail on circular pieces all of which started as monotypes.

Collusion presents a fusion of sensibilities that results in, to paraphrase the poet, Karen Fish, a new singular voice, altogether individual and compelling. Here the spirit of creative play is alive and well.

Hamlett Dobbins, Untitled (For N.A.C./J.W./B.I.E./T.), acrylic on canvas, 2020

Hamlett Dobbins (Painting & Drawing MFA 1999, MA 1998) has a solo exhibition, “I Must Keep Reminding Myself of This,” at David Lusk Gallery in Nashville through November 28.

Steve Maxon

Steve Maxon (MFA Sculpture 1980) completed his third Democrat Donkey before the election and in time for his birthday last September. He is the president of Max-Cast, an art foundry in Kalona, Iowa. The donkey is mostly Styrofoam and easily transportable unlike most of the cast bronze and iron sculpture his company produces.

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