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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

EWU student present art in the 1st, 3rd dimensions

Ashley Vaughn, an art student at Eastern Washington University, hangs her oil on canvas paintings at Object Space last Thursday. EWU art students will present a group showcase of their work at the gallery at 1818 1/2 E. Sprague Ave. through May 29. (Colin Mulvany)

At Object Space, 1818 1/2 E. Sprague Ave., the work of more than a dozen Eastern Washington University art students occupies the space.

The artists are all students of the Studio Art Program who took the Senior Capstone course that focuses on the professional practice of a fine artist.

“It’s a class that I am particularly passionate about because as a former art student, I feel I was given no preparation for how to go about managing a studio arts practice or even what to expect once you graduate with an arts degree,” said EWU teacher Jenny Hyde. “I want these students to feel confident about what they do, and understand that what they have accomplished is courageous and worthwhile since being an artist is still met with eye rolling and disdain in our culture.”

The exhibit, “Primordial Collision,” includes paintings, prints and sculptures. There is a drawing of a female figure that looks like an Egyptian goddess wearing a headdress of kitchen utensils who is tethered to a vacuum cleaner, huge portraits of a regal looking dog and cat, and a painting framed with branches. The three-dimensional pieces include a room in which paper, glass, fabric, string and other things are tied, twisted and formed into an otherworldly landscape created by Ashley Ueckert. “I suppose I could’ve pursued making practical things instead of art, but that would never have satisfied this desire or need for life to be magical and not mundane,” Ueckert said.

Other sculptures include a child’s school desk marred with “scars” and Remelisa Cullitan’s kimono decorated with imprints from a hand-carved stamp of a vagina that was inspired by Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi, who was arrested last year for the alleged violation of Japanese obscenity laws.

“One of my goals is to broaden horizons,” Cullitan said. After graduation, she wants to start a nonprofit that focuses on giving young minds the opportunity to be creative in a variety of different practices. “With public schools cutting funds in art programs, many schools don’t even have the equipment or tools to teach kids. I want to provide a safe facility that offers a variety of materials, tools, and knowledge to help with that,” she said.

Wandering around the exhibit, it is clear: The artists are thoughtful, playful and primordial; their emotions and curiosities rule.

“I want to physically engage in the world around me and be adventurous,” Ueckert said, “I want to explore and learn. In a way, art is simply a way to process experiences and observations.” Young artist Ashley Vaughn added, “When I create, I feel a strong and certain energetic presence. It’s not like the presence of an outside entity, but rather a presence within myself.”