PULLMAN, Wash. — The Washington State University Museum of Art brings
the spring semester to a close with the Fine Arts Graduate Thesis Exhibition,
which opens with a reception from 7-9 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, in the Fine Arts
Center atrium.

The annual exhibition features work in a variety of media by candidates for the
WSU master of fine arts degree. The exhibition will be on display at the
museum located in the Fine Arts Center on the Pullman campus through May
6.

The artists earning MFA degrees this year are Paula D. Farmer, Carolyn Ford,
John Jenkins, Megan Martens, Michelle Melancon, Brian Simko and Dane
Webster.

“The MFA exhibitions are always a high point,” says Ross Coates, professor
and graduate coordinator for the WSU Department of Fine Arts. “They are the
culmination of two years’ hard work and they signal the first step on the road
to being a professional artist. The art faculty and the community always look
forward to this event.”

This year’s exhibition features ceramics, digital imaging, painting,
photography, printmaking and sculpture. Paula Farmer, a photographer whose
work in the exhibition is based on the experiences of African-American women
in the Pullman community, uses snapshots, studio portraits, a video and an
installation to create what she refers to as a “socio-documentary.”

Carolyn Ford, a ceramist, uses the theme of “Dogs in Outer Space” in her
brightly colored sculptures, drawing on her interest of the imaginary life of
dogs in a fantasy world to create a humorous narrative vision that satirizes
tabloid journalism.

Other participants in the show include John Jenkins, a mixed media artist who
paints directly on photographic images, placing his own image in proximity
with other objects (figures, blocks of color, etc.) to express the two major
themes in his work: intimate experiences and thoughts on art-making in
general. Megan Martens also draws on personal experience. According to her
artist’s statement, she uses many images in a single painting “to create a dialog
between the images and subjects within it, like a conversation between two
people.”

Michelle Melancon, a printmaker working in mixed media, has focused her
recent work on methods used by humans to exist in the underwater
environment as a metaphor for human adaptation. Early diving suits,
underwater conditions and their effects on the human body are particular
elements in her work. In addition to her large drawings, she uses thin,
translucent paper together with theatrical lighting to set a scene and create an
environment with her work.

Technology and its relationship to art and society are a source of inspiration
for sculptor Brian Simko. His work in the exhibition will include a “Door
Stroboscope,” which engages the viewer and is viewer operated. According to
his artist statement, both technology and art “involve similar processes of
experiments, failed attempts and discovery.”

Dane Webster, a photographer, will combine photography with digital imagery
in his thesis work, which he describes as being “based on the electro-chemical
process of memory recall in relationship to my use of both the photo-chemical
process of photography and the photo-electric display of digital imagery.”

The Museum of Art is open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Tuesday, 10 a.m.-9
p.m.; and weekends, 1-5 p.m. The museum will be open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on
April 14-15 for Mom’s Weekend and on May 6 for Commencement Day. All
Museum of Art exhibitions and programs are free and open to the public. The
gallery is wheelchair accessible.

A sampling of the works from each MFA student in the Pullman exhibition will
also be on display May 16-June 1 at WSU Spokane’s Riverpoint campus in the
Interdisciplinary Design Institute Gallery. The IDI Gallery is located in the
Phase One Classroom Building, 668 N. Riverpoint Blvd. at the Riverpoint
Higher Education Park. Gallery hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Free
parking available is available and the gallery is handicapped accessible.

For program information, call the Museum of Art at 509/335-1910. For
directions to the Spokane campus, call the IDI at 509/358-7920.

Funding for museum exhibitions and programs is provided by Washington
State University, the Friends of the Museum of Art and private donors. A
portion of the museum’s general operating funds for the fiscal year has been
provided through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a
federal agency providing general operating support to the nation’s museums.
Additional support has been provided by the Kenneth and Marleen Alhadeff
Foundation; the Delta Air Lines Foundation; the Washington State Arts
Commission; the National Endowment for the Arts; the Pullman Kiwanis Club;
Tri-State Distributors; private donors; and the WSU Visual, Performing and
Literary Arts Committee.

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