Senior art show opens

For seniors, graduation means looking forward to the future and reflecting on the past. For art majors, that process culminates in the Senior Art Show, an opportunity for Whitworth’s graduating art students to showcase the skills and point of view they have developed during their time in the program. The 2015 graduating class of Whitworth’s art program is comprised of nine students: Jessica Banzet, Katie Bergmann, Linnea Goold, Melissa Helgeson, Kelsey Herman, Jasmine Pallwitz, Jorie Rehnberg, Ashton Skinner and Tayler Wood. The artists explore a variety of media in the gallery show. Photographs, paintings, graphic designs, charcoal drawings and sculptural installations by each senior artist can be seen.

The current senior class contains students who began in other majors—sociology, psychology, Spanish and communication, to name a few—that have found that art encompasses a wide variety of ideas and disciplines. The students interviewed all discussed the ways in which their art educations have challenged and inspired them.

Skinner paints self-portraiture that explores reflection and identity.

“I expected to learn technique, the craft, the more face-value skills of making paintings and making drawings, but I’ve had a few teachers and mentors here that have taught me how to think differently and taught me how to go on rabbit trails when you are interested in something and explore it, and that’s been super exciting because I’ve really learned how to follow my curiosity … and we have learned critical and analytical skills here that I wouldn’t  have learned in any other major here,” Skinner said.

Other art students agree that Whitworth offers a unique perspective in the field.

“Whitworth emphasizes worldview and I feel like ... the art department is the best place I could have been to really widen that [idea] or challenge me,” Herman said.

Herman’s experimental 3D yarn sculpture is meant to challenge viewers’ perceptions of the way common materials are viewed.

Apart from the traditional art classes expected in this program, some students have also had the opportunity to take their education into the real world with community-based programs. This semester, Jasmine Pallwitz worked at Salem Lutheran Church in an internship that allowed her to use her love of art to help serve the Spokane community.

Pallwitz is a painter, focusing on works that work to bring attention to the world through reflecting cultural inequalities.

“For me, I’m a very faith-based person, and so that is very important to me as well as my art, so I’m always thinking about ways to integrate the two,” Pallwitz said. “It’s actually made me more passionate in my desire to help people, to serve in whatever way I can … [art] can be used a lot in community development and as a way to spread a message of change.”

After graduation, Whitworth’s art students have varied plans that include graduate study, volunteer work and community building. Herman’s, Skinner’s and Pallwitz’s work can be seen at the show, now open in the Bryan Oliver Gallery at the Lied Art Center.

Kelli Hennessey

Staff Writer

Faculty art exhibit opens to students and community

On Nov. 11 at 5 p.m. in the Bryan Oliver Gallery of the Lied Center for the Visual Arts, the 2014 Whitworth Faculty Exhibition entitled “Parole,” opened for students to walk through. “It’s cool that professors can show their art and students can see it. We can get an understanding of who they are outside of the classroom,” senior Amanda Blankenship said.

At 6:30 p.m., students and faculty gathered in the center of the gallery so each professor could explain their art and students could ask questions or comment on them. Professors strongly encouraged students to comment and even critique their pieces, since professors are often the ones who do the critiquing in the classroom. However, the discussion was still mainly driven by conversation between the professors.

A piece called “Nightie” by professor Katie Creyts was a night gown sewn out of handkerchiefs, in the form of a straight jacket. She explained the piece as a possible representation of being in love with your own sorrow and the soft material representing the ease of breaking free of that. During the discussion, a student perceived the resemblance of the piece to the stereotypical housewife and how she may feel trapped in her duties and expectations as a mother and wife.

Another student recognized the contrast between the cheerfulness of the patterns on the handkerchiefs and the sadness of its overall structure.

From the beginning of the discussion, professor Gordon Wilson stated the importance of responding to art and how each person’s response will differ from one another. Kirk Hirota said that when he took the photographs that were being displayed, his perspective was to capture the moment as best he could. In his piece, “Trondheim Cathedral, Norway”, Meredith Shimizu pointed out how one of the architectural structures appeared to be looking down on a woman in a robe. A student pointed out the contrast in how all the architectural structures in robes were males and the person being photographed was a female in a robe.

Many students were drawn to three pieces of oil on canvas, by professor Robert Fifield, who is in the middle of his second year at Whitworth. In the most basic terms, they were paintings of circles in different positions with different colors.

But the underlying message is much more expansive. His inspiration included his grandma, composition theory, bending the color spectrum of Newton’s color theory, Manifest Destiny, satellites, Thomas Jefferson, the Lewis and Clark expedition, and many more concepts, he said.

“If you want to look at where it all started, go on Google Earth and search the Ogallala aquifer in Nebraska or the fields in Middle Eastern places such as Saudi Arabia. They have circular fields that produce food in places where agriculture shouldn’t exist because they are such arid regions. The global homogeneity of agricultural land and food,” Fifield said.

Hope Barnes | Photographer

Fifield has dedicated hours and hours to the pieces since May and a few pieces in the series are not yet finished he said.

“The most important part of these pieces is that they’re super pretty to look at. I can talk until someone falls asleep, but they won’t fall asleep while looking at them,” Fifield said.

Another interesting piece was a mixed-media piece, entitled “Transitions”, created by Jeff Huston. There was a background projection of uniform suburbs houses, figures made of iron and standing on wooden carts, that were tied with rope to a block of wood that held three blades. His focus was on the concept of contemporary masculinity that involves being different from the conformity implicated in society, and connecting with others and the earth in the presence of harsh figures that we are forced to be connected to, he said.

The faculty exhibit will be showing until Jan. 30. For more information, contact 509-777-3258.

Rachelle Robley

Staff Writer