Forms Most Beautiful Art Competition
year's theme: Prehistoric Life and Diversification
Darwin Week Art Competitions
In addition to invited speakers, panel discussions, movies, and
other activities that have taken place during past Darwin Weeks at
SIUC, another integral event is the Endless Forms Most Beautiful
Art Competition. Art forms of
various kinds (photographs, paintings, sculpture, etc.) are
displayed in the glass cases in "Art Alley" on the
second floor of the SIUC Student Center. At the awards ceremony
we typically we have a
reception that included refreshments. First prize ($100), second prize
($50), and third prize ($25), as well as honorable mentions, are
Artwork from the 2015 Darwin Week Art Competition
1. Deanna Zembruski: Department of Zoology
Titles of three paintings: Bioluminescence (Watercolor Firefly),
Stridulation (Oil painting of Cicada), and Crypsis (Watercolor of Orchid
Description: As one of the most species diverse classes of organisms in
the animal kingdom, insects are a great class for showing the variety of
diversification, modifications, and adaptations used to survive, and
increase their fitness. This series of paintings aims to highlight a few
of these adaptations. Fireflies have evolved to have bioluminescence,
which aids in courtship and mating. Cicadas have adapted to use
stridulation to create different sounds for each species. Lastly, the
orchid mantis utilizes crypsis to aid in its predation of other insects.
2. Robin Gordon: School of Art & Design: Metalsmithing
Title: Gold and Pearls
(Silk, pearls, silver, steel, plastic)
Description: This piece is composed of cocoons from the Cricula
moth. They are washed, ironed, and cut into squares
and framed with freshwater pearls. The cocoons are naturally colored gold.
Although these moths are wild as compared to the Bombyx mori moth, they
are now being bred to produce cocoons for the silk production industry.
The practice of breeding silkworms for the production of raw
silk, sericulture, has been underway for at least 5,000 years in China.
Silk has been used for a variety of purposes aside from cloth production.
New developments in uses for silk are still being discovered. Recently the
company Vaxess Technologies, a venture-backed life sciences company, has
been developing novel heat-stable vaccine formulations based on its
proprietary silk stabilization platform. This means that the vaccine is
stable without the need for refrigeration and it can be effectively
delivered throughout both the developed and developing world. They are
hopeful that this technology will be in use in the future.
3. Robin Gordon: School of Art & Design: Metalsmithing
Title: Well Articulated
(Silk, silver, steel, plastic)
Description: This piece is composed of several hundred cocoons from the Bombyx
moth. They are dyed and then graduated in size from largest to
smallest and them framed with sterling silver caps. The cocoons are
connected in such a way that they are articulated and can be manipulated.
Although these moths are bred to produce uniform size cocoons for the silk
production industry, there are still variations and diversity with the
size of the cocoon produced.
4. Justin Elden: SIU Alumni
Title: Modern Mesozoic
Description: Abronia graminea
, commonly known as the Mexican
Alligator Lizard, lives its life in epiphytic bromeliads high in the
canopy of cool montane cloud forests. This species is as cryptic as it is
beautiful and rarely, if ever, ventures to the forest floor. At first
glance the lizard seems prehistoric with its heavily keeled scales and
powerful jaws. Though a superficially ancient creature this animal is
alive today in the Holocene. Unfortunately, due to having such a specific
niche, this species is one logging operation away from joining his more
formidable ancestors in the hall of extinction.
5. Marija Gorinshteyn: SIU Alumni
Title: Upstream Battle
Description: Turtles all over the globe are facing man made threats of
habitat loss, over collection, and road mortality. The eastern box turtle,
, was once common across its native range of
the United States but is quickly becoming extirpated. Dozens of species
across the globe are facing extinction because they cannot coexist with
the problems created by humans. Add a very long road to sexual maturity
and low survival rate of juveniles and the future of turtles worldwide are
bleak and unfortunate. This beautiful species, prehistoric and naturally
long-lived, may be just a notch in the fossil record sooner than we'd
6. Cordelia Anderson
was a group of pterosaurs that lived
in the late Jurassic, about 150 million years ago. Most Pterodactylus
fossils have been found in Germany. In the late Jurassic, Germany was a
series of islands on the edge of the Tethys Sea, which separated Asia,
Europe and North America from Africa and South America. This colored
pencil drawing shows a pterodactyl gliding over the Tethys Sea, looking
7. Nick Flowers: Plant Biology
Title: Southern Illinois: Leaving lasting impressions
Description: A phylogenetic representation of extinct species (large
image, bold) found in fossil form in southern Illinois and extant species
(small image, italics) for reference. Top Clockwise: Amborella,
Huperzia, Sellaginella, Isoetes, Lepidophloios, Lepidodendron,
Pecopteris, Polystichum, Equisetum, Calamites, Anullaria, Cordaites,
Macroneuropteris, Neuropteris, Pinus
, and Ginkgo
8. Lilyan Glaeser: Plant Biology
Title: Diversification of the genus Carex
Description: The reproductive anatomy of plants has evolved in many
different ways since prehistoric times. We commonly think of seeds in
fleshy fruit or hard casings like nuts. On these window clings are three Carex
species; C. bebbii
, C. utriculata
, and C.
, and their diverse seeds.
9. Renee Hazen: Plant Biology
(Not in art contest, only for display)
Description: This is a watercolor painting of Haplocanthosaurus
from the late Jurassic period, not a Brontosaurus.
Surprisingly, there is no such thing as a Brontosaurus. Turns out a sneaky
paleontologist placed a Haplocanthosaurus delfsi
skull on the
wrong body just so that he could claim fame with a new discovery.
Nevertheless, this sauropod ("lizard-footed"), is a wonderful dinosaur
that reached lengths near 15 m (50 ft) and weighed almost 13 metric tons.
The links below take you to pages for past art shows / competitions.