Jody Boyer’s “Ice Works” to be featured in Ray Frederick Gallery

MARSHALLTOWN – Marshalltown Community College will welcome Jody Boyer as she shares a display of her artwork in MCC’s Ray Frederick. The exhibit will open Monday, Jody Boyer October 10 starting at 9 am and will display through noon on Thursday, Nov. 3.

This unique display of art titled “Ice Works,” will be a collection of sculptures for photography. Boyer has worked in a lot of different mediums. Sculptures, photography, large installations and even videos. This is an exhibit she likes to refer to as time-based work. “The sculptures melt and don’t exist after photographs are taken of them. They are still images but relics of a time-based process.”

This type has been in the making since April 2020 for Boyer at the start of the pandemic. “While I sheltered in place with my family, I found myself reflecting not only on self-care but also on the roles and responsibilities of how we tend to each-other, our shared communities and our shared humanity.”

“I had a moment where I was making response artwork. I would find a piece in a museum and make a piece of art in response to it. I made a piece that was frozen cubes that sparked an idea in my mind, and I wanted to see where I could take that idea.”

In her kitchen while she prepared food for her family she explored creating ephemeral sculptural objects. The science of ice, food coloring and her freezer became her artistic tools and her kitchen a photo studio. She used decaying leftovers from flower bouquets bought to brighten their domestic space. Her and her children also began foraging in their neighborhood as a way of thinking about place and sustainability.

Since then, Boyer has been creating this type of piece every week for two years to see where the concept could continue to go.

Boyer has been a practicing artist for over twenty-five years. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Studio Art from Reed College and her Master’s in Art from the University of Iowa in Intermedia and Video Art. Boyer’s is a fellow Iowan and educator in both high school and higher education. She is originally from Portland, OR and moved to Iowa twenty-two years ago. She is currently an adjunct faculty at the University of Nebraska School of the Arts and an art educator in the Omaha Public Schools.

When asked what her creative process is, Boyer said, “I like to investigate ideas and see where it goes. The creative process is a motivator. I try and make art every day. When I make art, I don’t always know where it is going to go. I take an idea that might seem ridiculous and push it to see what I can do with that. Once I have an idea that I want to keep going I will dedicate time to that idea. The ongoing creative process keeps me going.”

She considers art a form of creative therapy. “The creative process can be a therapy for us as a people. A lot of research has said that even if you don’t make good art the act of the creative process can change how your brain works. If I don’t make art I kind of don’t feel alive. I’m driven by that relationship to art making as well.”

Boyer has changed her style through time depending on the material and the process she is in. She used to create large scale installation and video work. The exhibits would take up entire spaces in museums. She was looking for more traditional smaller scale process, so she switched to 2D images. “I was looking for work I could finish while balancing roles of mother, educator and artist.”

This series is new work for Boyer, but tied to her identity as artist-researcher-mother-teacher. Creating these works and sharing them has become part of her daily practice of Jody Boyer Artwork living. The work investigates domesticity and physical change on a metaphoric and visceral level: decorative glassware designed for celebration, a world frozen, loss, the fleeting existence of fragile cut flowers, grief and the passing of time are all embedded in the eye-candy of these sculptural still-life photographs.

This is the first time Boyer has exhibited her work at MCC. When asked what she is hoping the viewer will take away from the exhibit she commented, “I hope that my work offers aesthetic delight while asking the viewer to contemplate the 21st century human experience of a global pandemic and climate change, motherhood, acts of care and how we grieve both collectively and individually.”

When asked what a success looks like to her, Boyer said, “Success is really about maintaining the creative process in my life and making work that is meaningful to me that I’m also satisfied with. I tell my students that everyone can make art and everyone’s art is going to look different but what is most important is not how it looks but that you have integrity with making it.”

“Art is one way that we share our experiences and gain understanding between people who might not have the same experiences. It’s about how we can have cultural understanding, intergenerational understanding, and be deeply connected to who we are.”

All of the pieces on exhibit will be for sale. The Ray Frederick Gallery is open weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm. For more information contact MCC Art Professor Tim Castle at 641-844-5776 or