PULLMAN, Wash. — The Washington State University Museum of Art will feature the work of two former Pullman and WSU artists in “Extended Connections: Work by Robert R. Ecker and Ruben Trejo” beginning Feb. 28 through April 4.

The exhibition will open with a lecture by Ecker at the Fine Arts Center Auditorium at 7 p.m. Feb. 28 with a reception to follow.

“Trejo and Ecker work in divergent media, however, their connection is unmistakable — that of the surreal,” said Anna-Maria Shannon, assistant director for the WSU Museum of Art. “They take everyday objects and personal experience and create works that captivate the imagination.”

According to Roger Rowley, curator of exhibitions and collections manager for the museum, Extended Connections is a title that comes from both artists having lived or worked in Eastern Washington for a portion of their lives. “It is not what primarily defines their art. Their artistic activities reach far beyond any narrow geographic location,” he said. “Though dramatically different in media and form, their work is interconnected in ways as well. They both comment on culture and pop culture through abstraction and the surreal.”

Trejo has spent most of his life as an artist and working in the arts. He has received several distinguished honors, most recently the 2001 Spokane Arts Commission Individual Artists Award. Trejo, a professor of art at Eastern Washington University, has exhibited his work from coast-to-coast and around the world. His work in Extended Connections is a mixed media of large hand-shaped milagros (miracles) that express Trejo’s Hispanic heritage and culture within the framework of modern conceptual art.

Ecker taught at WSU from 1965 to 1972 before going to the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he is a professor emeritus. His work is a combination of printmaking and painting that depicts familiar objects in a surreal world of highly detailed, three-dimensional structuring.

“Art is a bridge … art’s paradoxes and contradictions reflect the paradoxes and contradictions of every individual,” Ecker said.

In seeing his work in the exhibition, understanding these paradoxes and contradictions will challenge any viewer, Shannon said.

Funding for museum exhibitions and programs for this fiscal year is provided by WSU, the Friends of the Museum of Art, the WSU Foundation and private donors. Additional support for educational programs has been provided by New Garden Restaurant, Pullman Child Welfare, Pullman Heating and Electric, Pullman Kiwanis Club, Pullman Parks and Recreation, Sims Glass, Windshield Doctor and private donors.