February 2, 2012 in Washington Voices

Emerging artists offer diverse views

Five painters show their work at The Elk
Jennifer Larue, Jlarue99@Hotmail.Com
Colin Mulvany photoBuy this photo

Ahmad Ejahali Mohammed, left, Trina Snediker and Cassandra Hennings are three of five emerging artists showing at The Elk Public House in Browne’s Addition through Feb. 28. Not pictured are artists, Michelle Fergusen, Jacob Hansen. All are painters, though their styles are diverse.
(Full-size photo)

Through Feb. 28, five emerging artists are showing their work at The Elk Public House, 1931 W. Pacific Ave., in Browne’s Addition.

Kyle West has been setting up art exhibits at the restaurant since 2008.

For this show, he called on friend and local artist Patty Haag. Haag, who has curated exhibits in the past, teaches drawing, painting and non-Western art history at Spokane Falls Community College. “For this show, I was looking for good and diverse painters,” she said.

 The artists, Michelle Fergusen, Jacob Hansen, Ahmad Ejahali Mohammed, Cassandra Hennings and Trina Snediker have all taken or still take classes at Spokane Falls Community College.

Fergusen, 20, has moved to California to continue art studies at San Diego State. Her work is realistic with a sense of adventure.

Hennings, 21, just finished her studies at SFCC and plans to attend Eastern Washington University. Also drawn to realism, Hennings prefers to draw or bring characters to life via digital comic book art. “Art excites and inspires me,” she said.

Snediker, 45, balances art with family life. Married for 18 years, she and her husband have a blended family of 7 children. She attended SFCC before graduating from Whitworth University with a bachelor’s in fine arts in 2010. She is studying painting and ceramics at SFCC to build up her portfolio for graduate school.

Snediker is drawn to patterns and shapes found in things like sunsets and landscapes which she alters by fragmenting or repeating patterns. She often adds texture to the pieces with anything from paper to zippers.

Mohammed graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad in 1989. He continued his art studies at SFCC from 2004 to 2007. He has applied to the master’s of fine arts program at Washington State University.

“Art has allowed me a means to express my suffering as an Iraqi citizen,” he said, “It has also given me a way to heal myself. It is my hope to offer that healing to others.”

He focuses on history and modern global culture to make his work more relevant to the world at large. “It is my hope to represent the Iraqi experience to a Western audience and the American experience to an Eastern audience.”

His work is filled with stunning imagery mixed with childlike curiosities. Squares represent windows or cells and details of objects or a subject’s surroundings add chapters to the stories he illustrates in oil or acrylic paint with the addition of mixed media.

Though their styles are different, their sentiments are similar; they all have the desire to share their experiences through the language of art and, in a venue like the Elk, they are able to reach an even wider audience.

“This is a great venue,” Haag said. “People who may not frequent galleries are exposed to art in the context of having a good time in a community environment. It’s a bonus for them and the artists.”

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