PULLMAN, Wash. — The Washington State University Museum of Art’s Fine Arts Graduate Thesis Exhibition opens Monday (April 9) with innovative works diverse in subject matter, content and media, including photography, digital imaging, drawing and painting.

An opening reception for the exhibition is set from 6:30-9 p.m. April 12 in the Fine Arts Center. Free parking for the reception will be available in the Fine Arts parking structure.

The exhibition that runs through May 12 at the Fine Arts Center will showcase works in various media by candidates for the Master of Fine Arts degree. The artists featured will be Joel Allen, sculpture; Ryan Belnap, photography; Sarah Belnap, drawing; Tobe Harvey, painting; Karen Kaiser, drawing and installation; David Schu, drawing, painting and digital art; Raylene Ward, painting; and Cynthia Zyzda, ceramics.

“We have an awesome group of graduate students working in drawing, digital imaging, photography, installation and painting,” said Keith Wells, professor for the WSU department of fine arts. “The students are quite prolific and dedicated to their craft.”

“The exhibition showcases two years of hard work. It represents a milestone, the end of formal education and the beginning of a career. This exhibition marks the artist’s right of passage,” said Paul Lee, fine arts department chair. “The graduate program at WSU is highly personal. The faculty works one on one with the students and is personally interested in their development. We gauge the graduate students’ success on their improvement. The students have matured, they are more sophisticated in their presentation and they have made some incredible works.”

Schu uses acrylic, gesso, graphite, ink and paper to depict the flight and various movements of butterflies and moths in his works “In” and “Nightfall.” “I like the action of drawing, the process, interaction and looking at a finished work. The beauty is making the work and being able to have a conversation with it. Being able to get it to that point is an accomplishment in itself,” Schu said.

Allen’s work “Actually” conveys a sense of urgency and necessity of interaction with its viewer. “I let my work speak for itself,” Allen said, adding that he would rather let the viewers experience his art and form their own interpretations before they are biased by his view.

Belnap’s color photographs from the “Motorbike Series” draws the viewer onto the open road on a sunny day. Belnap creates works that liberate the viewer with a sense of speed and freedom.

Ward uses mixed media on canvas in her exhibition works “Winter I” and “Winter II.” In Ward’s use of greens, pinks and oranges, a soothing sense of the winter season is presented to the viewer.

In addition to the Pullman exhibition, a sampling of fine arts graduate thesis works will be featured in an exhibition in Spokane May 22-June 14. The exhibition will be held at the Interdisciplinary Design Institute Gallery at WSU Spokane’s Riverpoint Higher Education Park.

Also, a selection of earlier works by some of the exhibition artists will be featured at WSU Tri-Cities through April 27. The exhibition, “Selections from WSU’s Fine Arts Graduate Students,” will be held at the Consolidated Information Center at the Richland campus.

The WSU Museum of Art is open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday; and 1-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For Mom’s Weekend, the museum will be open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, April 20; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, April 21; and 1-5 p.m. Sunday, April 22. On Saturday, May 12 (commencement) the museum will be open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. All events are free and open to the public. The gallery is wheelchair accessible.

Funding for Museum of Art exhibitions and programs is provided by WSU, the Friends of the Museum of Art and private donors. Additional support has been provided by Bank of America, IKON Office Solutions, Opsis Architects, Pullman Community Foundation/Foundation Northwest, Pullman Kiwanis Club, Pullman Transit, Tri-State Distributors, US West Foundation, Washington Mutual Foundation, WSU Visual, Performing and Literary Arts Committee, and Washington State Arts Commission.

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