Gallery of Art | University of Northern Iowa

“Convergence and Creation of Design: The Elena Diane Curris Biennial Design Exhibition”

October 10, 2022 to November 9, 2022

On Wednesday, October 12 at 6 p.m. in KAB 111, the Gallery will offer a public lecture by James Ewald titled “Triple Double: Independent Publishing, Sensory Experiences, and Visual Narratives.” An opening reception will follow.

Participants include the following:

Jessica Barness

Ways of reading, seeing, and hearing texts may be explored through theories of collage and assemblage. This body of work is composed through a variety of media (image, type, and sound), and in doing so, media plays a significant role in designing the practice itself. Through writing and studio work, Jessica Barness focuses on critical practices, participatory projects, and the design of scholarship — and how these relate to issues of power and representation. She is also a designer of visual, interactive, and sound-based things. Currently, she is an Associate Professor in the School of Visual Communication Design at Kent State University.

Soo Hostetler

Hostetler’s designs are rooted in the Minhwa art forms that were developed during the late Joseon era in South Korea (17th – 19th century) and are generated from folk mythology, symbols and scenes of everyday life. Hostetler uses these themes not only to exhibit her heritage but also to increase the viewer’s artistic cultural diversity using digital expressions. Cultural connections, through art, are one of this designer’s interests where aesthetic pleasure creates social bonding with the world community. Hostetler is an associate professor at the University of Northern Iowa. Her scholarly work has emphasized motion graphics, particularly kinetic typography, and interdisciplinary research integrating motion, music and mathematical proportions utilizing digital technology.

Riva Nayaju

Riva Nayaju is an architect and graphic designer specializing in typography, motion design, watercolor, and print design. She grew up in Nepal and earned her M.F.A. from Oklahoma State University in 2021. She currently teaches graphic design at the University of Northern Iowa as an assistant professor. Her interest in fine art and illustration motivates her to work on tactile projects and she enjoys the process, using a variety of materials and objects. She employs the blend of this hands-crafted work with digital technology as an expansive process. She has showcased her works in many galleries, and won several awards and scholarships throughout her career as an artist.

James R. Ewald

James R. Ewald is currently an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Oklahoma State University where he teaches undergraduate Graphic Design and Interaction Design along with graduate Design Research courses. He received both his B.F.A. and M.F.A. from Iowa State University. His research interests include sensory design and graphic novels as visual narratives. He is a partner at the Cauldron Press, a risograph printing press located in Oklahoma City. He has recently exhibited his current body of work in China, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, Taiwan, and the United States.

Sang-Duck Seo, Ph.D., M.F.A.

Visual form and space can be represented by rules of construction of perceptual scenes based on "Gestalt Theory." This study experimented with symbolic abstraction in two ways to improve the visual balance between complexity and simplicity. And it was found that the visual perception and perception of optical mechanisms can not only be defined as a design principle but can also bring new visual concepts and interpretations. Sang-Duck Seo is a professor in Graphic Design and Media at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. His research focuses on human-centered design where he conducts empirical studies on user behaviors in UX/UI design.


Hostetler and Nayaju are the co-curators of this third iteration of the exhibition, which was first presented in the fall of 2018. It is named in memory of Elena Diane Curris (1977-2015), the daughter of Constantine (Deno) Curris and Jo Hern Curris. Elena lived in Cedar Falls and attended the UNI Price Laboratory School during the years that her father was president of the university. Throughout her life, she was deeply interested in design. The long-term support for this series is made possible by a generous endowment from Elena’s family and is supplemented by additional contributions from friends and others who wish to promote the excellence of graphic design education at UNI.

All events are free and open to the public. We recommend wearing masks and social-distancing while in the gallery.