Other winners were Daniel Dolash for Natural Rights, a 9-piece mixed-media work, earning him first place and $350; Eric Rolek and Guillermo Thompson, for Bioluminance, a lamp made with bioplastics, for second place and $250; and Ashley Hogenson for Fusion, an acrylic painting, for third place and $150.
Rolek and Thompson’s lamp made with bioplastics was a topic of much conversation during the competition because it had deformed significantly since it was first entered into the competition. However, the pair saw the bioplastic’s deterioration as a “wonderful thing.” “There’s no formula for making a bio-lamp,” Thompson explained. “We didn’t have any experience, so it’s a research project.” Rolek noted that the pair will likely make more art pieces to explore the unique properties and potentials for bioplastic.
The jurors for the 2014 competition were Merritt, Chris Vance, and Laura Jarboe. Merritt is a educational specialist at Iowa State University’s Reiman Gardens and is vice president of the Ames Community Arts Council. She has an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Vance is an independent artist from Des Moines and visual studies graduate from Iowa State. He also served as a juror for the 2013 competition. Jarboe is the Karen and Denny Vaughn Assistant Professor in chemical and biological engineering at Iowa State.