Whitworth faculty showcase their work at 2020 Faculty Art Biennial

by Denali Herrick | Staff Writer

Every other year, Whitworth art faculty present their art at the Faculty Art Biennial. The Bryan Oliver Gallery was forced to close last March due to COVID-19 restrictions, but recently reopened to support the Whitworth community. Currently, the gallery displays works by faculty artists Gordon Wilson, Katie Creyts, Robert Fifield, Julie Gautier-Downes and Lance Sinnema.

Entering the gallery, visitors see a work of art by senior lecturer Lance Sinnema. His solo contribution this year is a wall painting in the entrance of the exhibit. Upon deeper inspection, the painting is a visual allusion that says “Climate Crisis.”

“My recent work is a reworking and continued exploration of previous efforts in combining altered images and text. It is a refining of the explorative nature of language with the static nature of images,” Sinnema wrote in his artist statement.

Julie Gautier-Downes, adjunct faculty of photography, contributed “Untitled Photograph,” an inkjet print of an abandoned house, which she says is a common subject for her. “I look for abandoned houses in a lot of different ways and I photograph them and also create them as sculptures,” she said.

Gautier-Downes says that she wants people to feel a sense of peace or reflection in her art. She does not usually include people in her photography in order to give the impression that a figure is missing. “People are able to kind of connect with somebody they don’t know by putting puzzle pieces together that they see,” Gautier-Downes said.

Art professor Katie Creyts included three pieces of art made from glass. She said she finds inspiration for her artwork by exploring the intersection of domestic and wild animals. 

Last summer, Creyts received funding to explore how domestication of animals occurs and the relationship between domestication and zoonotic diseases, which are diseases caused by germs that spread between animals and people. She said she used this experience as inspiration for her current piece in the gallery. 

To describe her piece “Lead/Follow,” she said, “What I was thinking of with this one, in a cartoony kind of way, is that the bellwether kind of broke loose from the shepherd and just wanted to go for a swim. So, then all the sheep have to jump in the river after him.” She says that she tries to think about her subjects in interesting ways. 

Creyts said that if students want to learn more about the artist’s artwork or their inspiration, they should contact the artist or read their statement in the gallery.

The 2020 Faculty Art Biennial will show from Nov. 10, 2020 to Jan. 22, 2021. People can visit the gallery by appointment from 1-3 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. on Saturday. To schedule an appointment, call 509-777-4826.