The 2020 Jones Fine Art Series, made possible by Jones Bank of Seward and Concordia University, will feature artist Leslie Iwai, who will host an artist presentation March 5 and a community workshop March 7. Both events will be held on Concordia’s campus and are free and open to the public.
Based in Middleton, Wisconsin, Iwai draws inspiration from her diverse background in mathematics, chemistry and architecture to create installation, sculpture and performance work that is intimately interactive and ephemeral in nature. Iwai earned her bachelor’s degree from Wayne State College in Nebraska before earning her master’s degree in architecture at Virginia Tech. After returning to the Midwest, Iwai shifted her vocation into creating works of art, starting in Omaha, where Sounding Stones, her permanent outdoor sculpture installation resides.
“Leslie Iwai was selected for this year’s series first and foremost because we liked her work and how she talked about it,” said Don Robson, Concordia art department chair. “We were intrigued by her background in both art and science, so with the university’s current focus on our science program, it seemed like a great way to figuratively bring two departments together in the spirit of collaboration and to address the importance of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math). Leslie’s work is diverse and contemporary, which is something we want our students to experience, and with the majority of our art majors being women, featuring Leslie is a way to celebrate that as well.”
Robson said it was important to include a workshop as part of this year’s series as a way to bring the community together.
“Providing a workshop for students as well as the Seward community is important to Jones Bank and Concordia University, as both entities value the true definition of what it means to be a neighbor,” he said.
Jones Fine Arts Series Events
Thursday, March 5 at 7 p.m., Thom Leadership Education Center auditorium
Leslie Iwai Presents “Daughter Cells: Inheritance, Separation and Survival”
Iwai will present about her latest exhibit, inspired by the research of Dr. Mark Burkhard, an oncologist and cell biologist from the University of Wisconsin, and his groundbreaking discovery of a new form of cellular division in human cells. Iwai draws connections between family, loss, disfunction and resilience using word-filled eggshells, threaded steel-paned windows and crocheted cytoskeletons.
Saturday, March 7 at 9 a.m., Cattle Conference Room in the Janzow Campus Center
Come and experience organic origami and learn the geometry of folding a three-dimensional carrot-shaped “rootlet” from a specifically designed pattern developed by Iwai. Taking inspiration from Dorothy Day and the prayer from Ephesians about “being rooted and grounded in love,” participants will create pop-up gardens of “rootlets” around Concordia’s campus and Seward that will visually embody agricultural metaphors of care, growth and love. Registration is required for the workshop. Reserve your spot.