The Graduate Archive

For the past seventy-five years the School of Art and Art History has collected thousands of artworks by artists attending the School's graduate studio programs. Each graduate student was required to leave behind a work they completed during their graduate studies here at the University of Iowa. The collection contains over 6,000 paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures and other art objects. The collection is unique in the country and provides a critical glimpse of academic American art over much of the last century.

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Puppy, laser cut stainless steel, hand finished and formed 15" high, 2012

Gail Chavenelle is an artist from Dubuque, Iowa where she owns and operates Chavenelle Studio Metalworks.

Beginning with childhood paper dolls, chains, pop-out books, and greeting cards, Gail Chavenelle has always been intrigued by paper sculpture.  She loved the forms, but wanted the works to be more permanent.  Instead of a sheet of paper, she now works with sheets of steel.  Chavenelle is interested in creating expanded and three-dimensional images from a flat sheet.  Many designs are one piece.

Chavenelle has worked with sheets of steel in a variety of sizes, from 22 gauge to 1/4 inch for larger sculptures.  She works with stainless steel, rusted steel, and steel with a variety of colored powder coated finishes.  Her forms have been used in temporary, year-long street exhibits, library stand alone and wall art, neighborhood parks, and new green roof top gardens.  Most importantly, for nearly 20 years Chavenelle Studio Metalworks has celebrated love, family, success, promotions, doctorates, marriages, and even loss with people nationwide--decorating both the exceptional and common moments of our lives.

Chavenelle is best known for her stylized figure sculptures.  The curvilinear figurative forms exhibit an organic quality that transcends the connotations of the medium.  Instead of harsh edges, there is line and movement.  It is often a wonderful mystery where the piece begins or ends.  Each design weaves into itself creating the whole.  Chavenelle's sculptures have been called "Sketches in Metal."

The artist tells us, "I remain a committed craft artist.  I love the curl as strips of metal become wild hair.  I am awed as a turn of a metal head creates an intimate moment between lovers or parent and child.  It is my joy to speak with my metal voice."

You can find Gail and Chavenelle Studio Metalworks on both Facebook and Twitter.

Gail Chavenelle's website

This page was first displayed
on November 20, 2013

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