Ken Peterson artwork

Sioux City artist Ken Peterson will display his work in Northwestern College’s Te Paske Gallery Jan. 7–23.

A public reception is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 9, at 7 p.m.

Entitled “In Process,” the exhibit is a visual display of the development and repetitive practice of making functional objects in wood.

Peterson is a native of Portland, Ore., and his experiences with nature in Oregon, California and Alaska have influenced his work. After earning a degree in sociology, he eventually settled in Iowa, where he developed an appreciation for wood and a distinctive sociological perspective in his sculptural motifs.

“I’ve always been interested in an interactive element in my work,” Peterson says.

“This series explores my tooling and finish methods applied to functional objects intended for daily use. Adding the idea of utility to my art stretches the challenge of its creation.” A simple jelly spoon, for example, becomes a study in crafting form and balance as well as ergonomics and durability. Peterson’s sculptures could become part of a daily interaction, and the concept of usefulness is one principle of the collection. Peterson’s work has appeared in art centers, fairs and festivals in Sioux City, Omaha, Des Moines, Minneapolis, Chicago and Denver. He is a frequent winner of “Best in Show” awards, was the featured artist for the Iowa Artist Showcase of the Iowa Governor’s Office, and had his work commissioned for the Outdoor Sculpture Trail in Okoboji, Iowa. In 2013 he was commissioned to make the Tri-State Governor’s Award for the governors of Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska.

The Te Paske Gallery is located in the Thea G. Korver Visual Arts Center, on Highway 10 at 214 8th Street SW in Orange City. Gallery hours are 8 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to midnight Sunday.