FAFE 2013: Biennial show displays faculty's enjoyably diverse approach to art

Mariah Boyle is just one of many artists featured at the Washington State University Fine Arts Faculty Exhibition going on now at the WSU Museum of Art.

click to enlarge Here, shows the Fine Arts Faculty Exhibit.
Here, shows the Fine Arts Faculty Exhibit.

It's a diverse show. Besides the conventional sculpture, paintings, drawings, photography, and bronze work, it also features digital video, interactive media – and a sawn-in-half Volkswagen.

“This is one of the most fun shows that we have each year,” said Debby Stinson, marketing manager for the museum.

Most fine arts faculty members have work in the show, a biennial tradition that allows students to see the diverse skills and theories of those that are teaching and influencing them.

“The diversity, complexity and creativity are fabulous,” Stinson said.  “Each professor brings something unique to the exhibit.

“Because there’s something for everyone, all ages have fun at the show.”

if you go: What: WSU Fine Arts Faculty Exhibition When: 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, now through Sept. 14. A reception will be held today, Aug. 22, at 6 p.m. Where: Museum of Art/WSU, across Wilson Road south of Martin Stadium Cost: Free

ARTIST IN FOCUS Mariah Boyle Residence: Pullman Website: www.mariahboyleart.com Media: Drawing, painting, mixed media

How long have you been at this?

click to enlarge This Mariah Boyle piece is part of her ongoing series entitled "Dust."
This Mariah Boyle piece is part of her ongoing series entitled "Dust."

I have been exploring art-making as a serious endeavor for around about six or seven years, though I've been interested in the subject for much longer than that. I would attribute my interest in the arts in particular to my mother, Ruth Boyle, who is also a painter.

Education? I got my Bachelor's of Art degree from Eastern Oregon University in La Grande. When I went to college, it took a few years for me to gain confidence in what I was doing, and I learned some new techniques and ways of looking at art. I had great professors there, especially the late Kathelene Galloway, who taught drawing and printmaking. More recently, I completed my MFA at Washington State University, where I currently teach beginning and intermediate painting.

What are your creative themes? My family, friends, and people I know have been very represented in my work. Some of the shapes or forms in the drawings reference pieces of them or of their memory. My artwork has been a place for me to explore my feeling of loss after a series of tough events in my family and personal life, but my recent work has begun to focus more on the rejuvenation of life after what follows hard times. Although my work comes from a place of personal loss, the newest additions to the series have become more about the regrowth, or the healing abilities of time. Everyone and every place has loss, and my artwork has been a place where I can explore what it means to come out of the other side of it as a changed person, in a new landscape, and a clearer perspective. My most recent works in the WSU faculty show are many-layered, mixed-media compositions. They are part of an ongoing series that I have been working on for a few years, titled "Dust." They are about new growth coming from disaster, about my personal experiences in this place, and pieces of our landscapes in the Inland Northwest.

So the region influences your art? Being from an inland northwest agricultural community and spending a lot of time outdoors in big spaces in the high desert of Eastern Oregon and the rolling wheat fields in Pullman has influenced how I think about vast space and piqued my interest in what lives here – the plants and landscape, in particular, and how living things interact within this space. The ancient basalt stays, but the grasses and plants, all come and go, kind of like people.

I am still influenced by my work as a landscaper and continue to seek visually interesting objects or forms from our environment to sneak into my work. I walk a lot. I go looking around at the trees, the ground; I try to be observant. I look at a lot of scientific drawings of plants, and read a lot of history about the area.

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