Blaine artists get wider exposure
By Soren Velice
For five years, the Whatcom Museum of History and Art has given Whatcom County art students a chance to display their work at its annual Promising Future exhibit. For the 10 Blaine students selected, the show means they will know the feeling of having their work in the limelight.
Its a really, really great venue for students to show their work professionally hung and lit, art instructor Bryan Smith said. It lets them know theres more to it than playing in the art room.
Brendan Mulholland, whose charcoal still-life appears in the exhibit, said he liked to see what other students are doing. Theres some really good artwork down there, he said. Its good to see all the other high schools in the county, see their names.
Mary Jo Maute, the museums educational assistant and coordinator of the exhibit, said the show is good for art programs county-wide. The art students and teachers have a limited opportunity to show the public what they do, she said. By seeing what the students do, the public can see the importance of art education.
With Smiths direction, the students have produced pastels, pottery, oils and acrylics for the public to see.
Steven Furnos A Moment of Innocence is one of the first Blaine-produced works seen as viewers enter the exhibit. An impressionistic rendering of a mother and child, it evokes the image of Mary holding baby Jesus. Furno said he likes the idea of communicating his feelings through his work. Through all the corruption in the world, he said of the piece, people do come through sometimes and theres love. Maute said she was somewhat surprised that a high school student such as Furno would delve into impressionism. I like the ambiguity of it, she said. High school students usually like things more concrete.
Also in the exhibit is Jessica Tengs The Insanity of Peace, featuring a dark-skinned man being devoured by a shark, flanked by a lion, a zebra and an antelope. Its one of the wilder pieces in the exhibit, Maute said.
The bright color of Sarah Gustafsons three-piece Heavy greets viewers as they look at the wall opposite Tengs piece. I just wanted to do a lot with color experimentation, she said. I like to work with female figures representing life, youth and things like that. I wanted to work with very simple, bold shapes.
In the same room is Lauren Swartos Beaches, centered around a beach drowned in an orange and azure sunset. In the exhibits second room are more pieces, including Dana Werdals Dreaming, a surrealistic rendering of nighttime visions; Diane Johnsons Dementia, a spikey raku-fired pot; Mulhollands Clutter, a charcoal still-life with focus blurring toward the edges and Linda Pooles Discovering Yourself, a moody rendering of a lone woman in front of a dark cityscape. The theme behind it was shes so different from the rest of the city that in a way shes discovering herself, Poole said.
Blaines students are having a reception at the museum March 27 at 7 p.m. to help the public discover their work.
Its a pretty popular exhibit with the general public, Maute said, adding that last years show drew over 5,000 people. They seem to respond to the directness of students in terms of their expression; the entry into the minds of young people is pretty neat.