Barry McNamara  |   Published November 19, 2015

Best of Show

DiTusa’s pixelated painting takes top honor at Monmouth College exhibit
  • Monmouth junior Kallie DiTusa, Johnsburg, earned Best of Show honors at Monmouth College’s annual juried art exhibition with “A Pixelated Reflection.”
For several months, the painting judged Best of Show at Monmouth College’s annual juried art exhibition was in a very private collection – it hung at the Johnsburg home of James and Patti DiTusa, parents of Monmouth junior Kallie DiTusa.
  “It’s from the ‘Abstract Painting’ class I took last spring,” said DiTusa, who had a total of three works selected for exhibition. “Over Fall Break, my family convinced me that I should bring it back to campus and enter it in the juried show.”   Titled “A Pixelated Reflection,” DiTusa’s winning oil on canvas was inspired by “looking at an out-of-resolution photo. It inspired me to manually pixelate the painting. I didn’t use a photograph as a model. I just started off with a grid, and the work grew on top of that.”   DiTusa’s painting caught the eye of juror Ian Shelly, assistant professor of art at Western Illinois University, who named it Best of Show at the exhibit, which is on display in the college’s Everett Gallery through Dec. 4.   DiTusa, who also entered a painting titled “Studded Haze” and a photograph, “Abandoned,” said her desire to become a graphic designer is reflected in her paintings. “I could see myself getting involved with marketing for a company, producing their logos and helping them brand the company,” she added.   During high school, DiTusa decided she might want to pursue art as a major, and her high school art teacher suggested she look into Monmouth. DiTusa was familiar with the college, since both of her sisters attended Western Illinois University, and they drove through Monmouth often.   “I visited that first time and just fell in love with the campus,” she said. “I didn’t start as an art major, but I soon realized I was more passionate about it than any other subject.”   Other award winners selected by Shelly included: Alexandra Dupont of Rock Island, drawing; Emily Shaw of Viola, design; Phat Trenh of Vietnam, photography; Hannah Weis of Aledo, painting; and John Wells of Freeport, sculpture.   An artist and educator utilizing all media and heritage in the canon of western art and craft, Shelly graduated with a BFA in ceramics from Texas Tech University and received his MFA from the University of Missouri. He teaches all levels of ceramics as well as 3-D design. His work has been featured in numerous venues around the country as well as publications within the field of ceramics.   Located on the second floor of Hewes Library, the Everett Gallery is open during regular library hours: Mondays through Thursdays, 7:30 a.m. to midnight; Fridays, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays, noon to midnight.
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