Recent graduate art exhibit: Closure for former Whitworth art students

by Samantha Holm

Recent graduates display their art collections in the Brian Oliver Gallery.

From the time that they are juniors, art students anticipate and prepare for this moment. After diligently working on their pieces, tweaking them based on peer criticisms, and meeting demanding deadlines, the final step is displaying their work for all to admire. The Senior Art Exhibit is the culmination of these efforts and a capstone for Whitworth’s art students.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the class of 2020 was unable to showcase their work before their departure from Whitworth. Because of this fact, the Lied Center for the Visual Arts is holding the Recent Graduate Art Exhibit this month in the Bryan Oliver Gallery to display the artwork of graduates Daniel Miller, Marissa Gibson, Rebecca Young, Rachel Prior and Katelyn Rinehart.

After the campus shut down in March, the art department created a blog displaying all the students’ artwork in lieu of the Senior Art Exhibit. Lance Sinnema, lecturer and director of the Bryan Oliver Gallery, said, “[The blog] was actually better for viewership because we had lots of people who had parents and family who don’t live in the area.”

Sinnema said that he plans to make the blog a permanent assignment within the Senior Art Exhibit Project. Art students will be required to complete blog posts during the Senior Exhibition Project course in the spring semester, which revolves around setting up students’ finished pieces in the gallery.

Art students are also required to take the Junior Exhibition Project course in order to learn how to organize pieces in a gallery. A seminar course is taken in the fall of their senior year to create gallery installations and to receive constructive feedback from their peers.

Each year, the art department receives a small sum of money to purchase a student’s piece. This honor is known as the Student Purchase Award.

The recipient of this year’s award was Marissa Gibson, a former 2D Art and Biology Major, who specializes in watercolor illustrations of the natural world. Their piece “Iris VIII (Crazy in Love)” was purchased by the art department.

“It was a cool surprise to culminate my efforts for the show, and I am so grateful to the university and the art department, to have received the award and have my work be part of the collection forever,” shared Gibson.

Daniel Miller, a former Graphic Design Major with minors in Film and Visual Narrative, English, and Mass Communications, displayed an evocative GIF at the exhibit entitled “Mr. Blue”. Through this piece, Miller represents the struggles of mental health in his light-hearted cartoon style. “I wanted to put something out into the world that a viewer could look at and easily digest,” said Miller. “I hope it can either be a shared experience that viewers will look at and be able to relate to, or something that helps them relate to perspectives they might not have thought of.”

The Recent Graduate Art Exhibit opened Sept. 15 and will be displayed until Oct. 30. The gallery is open by appointment Monday through Thursday from 1-3 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. To schedule a visit, call 509-777-4826.