Student art receives regional recognition

- photo by Meghan Meehan/ For the Review 

Claire Oliver

Ats/Ent. /Opinions editor 

The artistic skill of two Linfield students has been recognized beyond the college’s borders, giving them a place in the Northwest art scene.

Junior Laura Johnson was awarded an honorable mention for two acrylic paintings she entered in a scholarship contest held by the Local 14 organization based in Lake Oswego.

The group of women artists aims to advance artists and give scholarships to women entering the art field. Johnson’s art was judged among the work of other juniors in college.

The top prize was $6,000, and Johnson was awarded $500 for her honorable mention, something she said was a pleasant surprise, as similar prizes from other organizations are
about $50.

The paintings Johnson entered are part of her “Artist as…” series. Her self-portrait is titled “Artist as Model,” and her painting of a faucet is called “Artist as Drips.”

“My work is postmodern and (has) a lot of social critiques,” she said.

Johnson cites older artists such as Jackson Pollack and Diego Valazquez as influences, as well as contemporary artist MK Gouth.

Johnson has presented other work in shows before, including one at the River Gallery in Florence, Ore., where she was able to make a sale. Johnson said because the gallery takes a commission from each sale, she was only able to keep $100 of the final price.

Even so, she said she is nervous and excited for her work to be displayed in the Local 14 gallery show in Portland in October, and especially for the display’s opening dinner party.

“The main thing isn’t winning, it’s being in the gallery and meeting other artists,” she said.

Junior Joe Robinson also gained recognition in the Portland area for his art, and will display one of his wood-fired ceramic pots in the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts.

The annual festival, held in Robinson’s hometown, chooses a different medium to feature each year. Last year’s focus was digital art. This year’s is wood-fired ceramics, Robinson explained.

As the focus of Robinson’s studio art major is wood-fired ceramics, he took the opportunity to gain additional recognition and critique, and will show a
15-inch pot in the festival’s juried show.

Robinson has volunteered at the festival in previous years and displayed pieces in its open shows.

He said he is grateful for the opportunities at Linfield that have allowed him to perfect his techniques.

“(It’s) a great place for wood firing,” he said. “To have students be able to do this is a big deal.”

He said he is unsure of where his future in art will take him after graduation next spring, but the festival will help him continue exhibiting art.

“I want to keep creativity in my life,” he said.

Johnson said her honorable mention has helped her gain insight into the professional art world.

“I’m not going to play to others, but it’s interesting (to see people’s reactions),” she said.

She said more than the monetary reward, the gallery show has provided her with connections in the field and will strengthen her career in the long run.

“My biggest goal is to get my name out there,” she said.

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