A group of students from Trinity Western University’s School of the Arts, Media + Culture are displaying their artwork on international ground in a one-of-a-kind exhibit this month.
The 14 women — all members of the upper-level art and design class at SAMC — have pieces on display at the Jansen Arts Center in Lynden, Wash., keeping in theme with the new In Fieri: In Becoming exhibit.
From Emily Garrison’s metaphorical abstract painting of her fellow tree planters to Olivia deFleuriot de la Coliniere’s investigative portrait built of layers of oil paint and Brooke Higginbotham’s contemporary portraiture, each artist invites viewers to engage with a dialogue on time and identify.
“What shall we do with this moment we are in?” the artists ask in their statement.
Each of the works on display is an exploration of this question, reflecting on processes of transition and metamorphosis.
The students are excited to have this international opportunity for their second group show of the year, a new partnership for an arts facility that is still relatively new in the Lynden community.
While some of the group members have displayed their work in the past, this will be Higginbotham’s chance to get her proverbial toes wet and have her work viewed by thousands of visitors.
“It’s my first actual gallery space and our first time doing an exhibition as a senior class . . . we couldn’t be more excited about the venue,” said the fourth-year art and design major from Langley, whose art on display includes abstract paintings titled: Crystalline, Rio, Soap Stone and Molly.
“It’s so cool to say your have and exhibit internationally, even though it’s just right next door.”
While Higginbotham was never a big fan of abstract art, she stumbled upon it by taking an abstract course in school, which ultimately changed her mind and her preferred technique.
“I really hated the idea for a long time . . . I always thought you couldn’t make anything tangible from it.”
The 22-year-old artist proved her theory to be incorrect.
Through the field of abstraction, Higginbotham now strives to trigger memory as “various strips of colours and their connotations, collide into each other.”
She describes the complex process of being both “time consuming and a bit of a waiting game.”
“In order to achieve sharp lines of colour, I mask out the edges of the surrounding strips of colour,” said Higginbotham, who notes that in order to achieve this, she waits for every subsequent line of paint to fully dry.
“This amounts to a lot of masking tape (a couple rolls per painting, at least) and a lot of waiting. The hours put into it depend wholly on the size but a minimum of 10-15 hours is spent on each painting.”
Paintings that depend on colour relationships are a constant surprise, she adds.
“When various strips of colour collide into one another, the dynamic shifts.
Although it’s slow, it’s an exciting progression, especially for those who get jazzed about the creative process.”
When Higginbotham was given the opportunity to check out the centre across the border around a month and a half ago, it was love at first tour.
“I wanted to see what the exhibition space looked like and found I had a real connection,” she said of the 1920s-era building that was once home to the Lynden City Hall and fire hall.
The transformed space is now a place for artists to create, teach, share and engage the community in appreciation of the arts.
“It’s a really funky building … one part is an old jail cell and there’s a fire hall that has been turned into a café.”
Courtney Jensen, Arts Director for the Jansen Art Center, said she’s thrilled to have this opportunity to feature such promising student artists from TWU.
“Our facility is an exciting new space here in Lynden, and people are just amazed when they walk in. With the current exhibition from SAMC, we have an impressive complement to our other arts programming.”
In Fieri: In Becoming is on display until Jan. 31. The public is also invited to attend an artists reception on Saturday, Jan. 11 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
For more information, visit www.jansenartcenter.org