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Photos from the Dust faculty exhibit opening at the Larson Gallery

Faculty artwork on display

“It is important for students to see the creative practices of their instructors,” says Art Instructor Monika Lemmon. “Seeing this work encourages students to look into different processes and techniques, it sparks their interest in new medias, and encourages them to ask questions.” 

Faculty artwork was the focus of the latest Larson Gallery exhibit. The show, on display January through February, featured work by faculty Rachel DornChris OttenKayo NakamuraLemmon, Timm Wauzynski and David Lynx along with scholarly articles by art historian Robert Millard. The show showcased the collaboration between the college and the gallery —and creates a platform for faculty to professionally showcase their artwork. 

For the first time in the Larson Gallery’s new and much larger home, long-time instructor Dorn said the exhibit was an opportunity for faculty to present more extensive bodies of work.

“We have put single pieces in the [YVC] student show each year but this is the first exhibition for just art faculty,” she said. “The large gallery gave us space to show a collection of work, which is often how we think about our art, rather than single stand-alone pieces, like we’ve been able to share in other shows.”

Dorn notes that her installation included approximately 30 pieces of art between two collections as well as some stand-alone pieces.

“It’s really great to have this opportunity to share our work more broadly with our students, colleagues and the YVC and Yakima communities,” Dorn said. “The large space, for me, means I can try out some stuff I haven’t had room for before, and the whole show being focused on just six artists (and one historian) means we can share a wider range of our work. It’s a totally different experience from showing just one work at a time in a juried show or alongside our students.”

“It is important for students to see the creative practices of their instructors.”

—  Monika Lemmon

Unique to this exhibition was a special installation for Millard’s work which highlighted his research and writing, rather than a studio piece.

For Photography Instructor Chris Otten, the exhibit allowed him to explore new techniques — resulting in ten large format prints featuring cave formations in darkly lit environments.

“The work is a response to my interests in documenting the landscape over the past several years,” says Otten. “Instead of going out and finding a cave to photograph, I wanted to create my idea of what one might look like using nothing but a single sheet of drawing paper.”

Lemmon, who teaches on YVC’s Grandview Campus, displayed eight pieces in the show — two-dimensional works in graphite and mixed media on wood panel and a three-dimensional piece in ceramic and metal. 

 “The Larson Gallery is a wonderful place to exhibit work. Not only is the gallery spacious, but it also has a variety of people that visit,” says Lemmon.

Inspiring students

Faculty members agree that the exhibition’s greatest value laid in enriching student learning and interest in the arts.

“I wanted to show my work with an amazing group of art faculty,” said Otten. “I also wanted students and the greater community to have the opportunity to see the range of diversity in our work and hopefully gain a greater appreciation for the arts.”

Dorn has seen first-hand how this show has translated to the classroom and inspired her students.

“I took my hand-building class over and it was fun to discuss the work with them,” says Dorn. “In that class, they use a lot of different techniques and because I was able to include so much of my work in this show, I was able to show them work done with the extruder, coils, molds, the potter’s wheel, sprigs, texture tools and two different types of glazes and firing approaches. In class students have mentioned that their extruded forms took inspiration from my work [in the show].”

“I’m excited to see how students continue to draw inspiration from this show,” she said.

Story by Stefanie Menard, AA-DTA ’05, communications consultant. Photos by Dustin Wunderlich, director of community relations.