Recent Grads

Here you can find the collected interviews and video walkthroughs for the Recent Grads exhibit that took place from September 15 to October 30, 2020. The participating artists were Marissa Gibson, Daniel Miller, Rachel Prior, Katelyn Rinehart and Rebecca Young.

Marissa Gibson

Following is Marissa’s Artist Statement, a brief walkthrough looking at the work she presented in the exhibit and an interview about her work.

Artist Statement:

Illustration is a form of communication that combines aesthetics and narrative or scientific accuracy. My work is focused on distilling information about an animal or plant from its appearance, behavior, and environment down to an elegant portrayal that communicates the value of the organism. I am drawn to the intricacies of the natural world and considering how humans interact with nature is important in creating pieces that speak for themselves. Illustrating natural history is a way to learn about organisms and it is my goal to share the profound appreciation for nature I have developed through my artwork. Being raised in the biologically diverse area of the pacific northwest and watching climate change occur in real time, in addition to my education, has contributed to my interest in both the species that enjoy deep cultural significance – and therefore support in the face of the threat of the Anthropocene – as well as those that exist on the periphery. 

Birds are my favorite subject because of the longstanding fascination humans have had with them, as well as their vulnerability to climate change and environmental damage caused by humans. I paint birds because they are beautiful and charismatic, but also because of their significant role in the larger fabric of nature. To me, there is no bird lesser than another because of characteristics or suppositions applied to it by humans. I work to capture the intrinsic value of life in every organism I portray, whether it’s the oily vibrant iridescence of an invasive starling, the delicate curl of a frostbitten oak leaf, or soft morning light warming a plover’s breast. Color and light play important roles in the formal quality of my work because it is how I achieve both scientific accuracy and a more artistic, narrative element.

Floral paintings allow me to pick apart the dynamics of light on and through a surface. Iris are an excellent subject because of their luminosity and velvety textures. The iris is a regal flower with delicate yet fleshy petals and sometimes lurid scent. I paint them as a meditation on materials and subject together, seeking to develop form with precise, expressive brushstrokes. I am interested in the wide variety of cultivars that have been developed over the years, a testament to the human pursuit of controlled beauty, aesthetic shapes, and diversity of color. It is my opinion that the breeding of flowers to be decorative is a rare and overlooked artform that I would like to explore further with my own artwork. 

Daniel Miller

Following is Daniel’s Artist Statement, the piece he presented in the exhibit and an interview about his work.

Artist Statement:

Born and raised in Spokane Washington, Daniel Miller majored in Graphic Design, with minors in Film and Visual Narrative, Mass Communications, and English. He utilizes both static and moving images to depict narratives in which viewers can find shared experiences. 

This specific piece employs both movement and storytelling to depict some of the struggles related to living with mental illness. The focus being on how mental illness can make an individual feel like a ghost of who they once were, and the effects of mental illness over time when left untreated.

Mr. Blue, 2020, GIF

Rachel Prior

Following is Rachel’s Artist Statement, a brief walkthrough looking at the work she presented in the exhibit and an interview about her work.

Artist Statement:

My work is about the relationship people have with their environments, showing that interior spaces can create an emotional tone that is uniquely poignant, and that the colors and objects we surround ourselves with can provide a hiding place in which to inhabit in our emotions. 

Much like Henri Matisse and Edouard Vuillard, I transform rooms into poetic imagery that stirs up emotions via design styles, objects, and figures. Interior spaces exhibiting elegance, palatial grandeur, romance, or historical design can stir my emotions to the point of tears. They resonate with me as an impactful means of expressing an emotion.  

I create spaces using highly decorative styles to convey the powerful impact of a curated space on the mood of people within. Romantic design elements that enchant the senses such as luxurious linens, floral vases, and candelabras evoke feelings from whimsy to melancholy. The suggestion of narrative through this vocabulary of characters and objects further add to these feelings. For instance, playing cards and drinkware left on a table suggest an abandoned celebration. High-heels next to a fainting chair with a single goblet point to the life of an elegant yet isolated soul. 

I use relief as a means of emphasizing the intentionality of images I create. An image I’ve drawn as a simple pencil sketch morphs into a tactile, carved out piece with its thicker, more permanent looking lines and multiple layers of color. Oil paints allow me to achieve an exciting level of detail on the subjects I represent, and to dramatize the light and color, intensifying whatever emotion the image is meant to express.

Katelyn Rinehart

Following is Katelyn’s Artist Statement, a brief walkthrough looking at the work she presented in the exhibit and an interview about her work.

Artist Statement:

I believe that art is about expression and emotion. Even a piece as simple as a vase or a cup can present the eyes with landscapes and designs reminiscent of something forgotten. Art is about surging past what lies beneath the skin of the viewer and grabbing emotions just by looking at a piece of art. I want the viewer to relate to my art on an emotional level, looking beyond me and my vision for my artwork and see a bit of themselves instead. I want the viewer to become lost in my art, and to instead be taken in by what they see. Many of my pieces of ceramic art are by choice, functional ware. They are pieces that are created with more than one use, so that they are not stagnant on a shelf but present in ordinary life. For many of my designs I have drawn from nature and my life experiences.

My inspiration for functional wear draws from the beauty and simplicity that I have seen in the pottery of Eva Zeisel, while encompassing the beauty found in nature. I wish to capture the simplistic beauty that is found in her dinnerware. I also love Japanese tea bowls because each one is unique. I have drawn directly from the works of Michelle Gregor when designing my piece Contemplation for ideas on color and composition.

Rebecca Young

Following is Rebecca’s Artist Statement, a brief walkthrough looking at the work she presented in the exhibit and an interview about her work.

Artist Statement:

Nothing for granted
Experience embodied
My life and my art

Struggle brings great stride
These paintings feel right, right now
Change is realized

Can’t paint my troubles
Besides, who wants to hear it?
But, I can paint cake

Though we can’t eat it
It can tell certain stories
And lessons of life

How we serve others
By accepting certain things

Expectations kill
the joy that’s available
We need to just smile

My art seeks laughter 
at droll disappointment
A sitcom moment

We would laugh at them
For their minor misfortunes
Why not at ourselves? 

It’s not all so heavy
Though sometimes things are crappy
There are sweets to eat!

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