Spokane Arts is excited to share Threshold at the Chase Gallery and online, July 1 – September 28, 2020, featuring the work of May Kytonen, Sam Marroquin, Mariah Boyle, Laura Ahola-Young, Sally Machlis and Delphine Keim. Threshold is a group exhibit featuring the work of six artists working throughout the northwest in a variety of mediums. Using paint, printmaking, drawing, with work on fabric, paper, and canvas, these artists explore boundaries of home and meanings of place. Through diverse approaches, the work in Threshold centers on themes of home and housing, migration and immigration, environment and boundaries. Powerful individual pieces invite the viewer to examine the many thresholds we approach and cross in our lives.
Enjoy the exhibit here online all summer. Spokane City Hall is currently closed to the public. Normally open to the public Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Chase Gallery is open if and when City Hall is open to the public.
Welcome to Threshold. Click an image below to enlarge and to view each work. Use these Discussion Questions as you explore the exhibition! Plus, use these family-friendly Art Activities for ideas for art projects to engage with the exhibit!
Sally Graves Machlis & Delphine Keim
Sally Graves Machlis is Professor Emerita of Art and Design and Art Education at the University of Idaho, serving as program chair for eleven years. Professor Machlis is active in educational outreach in the arts throughout Idaho and served on the Idaho Commission on the Arts for two terms. Professor Machlis exhibits her artwork regionally, nationally and internationally. With her recent retirement from the university and relocation to Coeur d’Alene, she is spending more time in her studio and traveling.
Delphine Keim is Professor of Art and Design at the University of Idaho. She coordinates the graphic design area leading students in outreach projects, practicing design and collaboration in the community context. She is currently serving her second term on the Idaho Commission on the Arts. Her scholarly activities include creating award-winning graphic design for her clients, interdisciplinary grant projects, writing about design, and fine art collaborations.
The artwork of Sally Graves Machlis and Delphine Keim is represented by The Art Spirit Gallery in Coeur d’Alene.
As longtime colleagues working in related artistic endeavors independently for the bulk of our careers, it has been an exhilarating experience to create collaborative art works. Combining the sensibilities of a painter and graphic designer allows for a deeper investigation of cultural, environmental and political issues that matter to both of us.
Art helps us understand what it means to be human. We are living in a time of deep political and social polarization. Many of us have left the nuance out of our thinking and stopped listening to each other. We seek to remind our viewers that their point of view is valid, and we hope as they experience our artwork, that they find empathy for the points of view of others because we are giving overt access to the ambiguity of complex issues in our work.
Our mixed media and installation pieces include ink, watercolor and acrylic painting, printed vector graphics, graphite text, digital images, laser cut plexi, glass and silk, found and 3-D printed objects.
This installation piece was created by Sally Graves Machlis and Delphine Keim with assistance from climate scientist Sanford Eigenbrode for an exhibition titled Abundant. The exhibition was supported by a grant from the University of Idaho giving artists an opportunity to visualize the work of scientists. The painting represents the landscape of the Palouse, the agricultural area where we live and work. The shelf in front of the painting holds small black bowls edged with tiny Milagros of aphids and ladybugs and are filled with crops of the region. A large part of the world’s food supply rests on a natural balance of crops and predators.
I think, I know
As political discourse becomes increasingly difficult, how can we learn to change our practice and improve communication. What are the universal beliefs we all hold dear? What are the virtues we strive to live by? Can we continue to learn and improve our understanding of each other and the world? Can our views be enriched by another perspective?
Sisters In Migration
Women (sisters) are a force for justice and beauty. Each piece represents the patterns of a country from which we see a large number of immigrants. The form of a child’s dress addresses the vulnerability of children. We are reminded of innocence, while the vibrant patterns evoke the aesthetic sensibilities of each culture. We seek to contribute to the conversation on immigration—we want our work to serve as a reminder that there is strength and beauty held within the groups of people migrating to the United States.
Sam Marroquin was born and raised outside of Spokane, Washington. She studied art at The University of Washington and Spokane Falls Community College. She earned her MA from Eastern Washington University. She has shown her artwork in many venues including Southern Oregon University, Ashland Oregon, Spokane Falls Community College, Spokane, and Washington State University Tri-Cities, Richland. Her artwork is in the Public State Art Collection at Tacoma Community College, Tacoma, Washington. She was recently selected as the Artist in Residence at TreeSong Nature Awareness Center, in Washougal, Washington. Marroquin lives and teaches art in Vancouver, Washington.
Investigating and exposing truth in current and historic events, I am always aware and processing what is going on around us. News and ideas which are avoided by popular culture and media are the source for my work. Responding to the collective experience of fact and fiction I explore the authenticity of cultural information. Uncovering truth becomes a way of documenting current history while looking to the past as well as the future.
I work slowly, building layer upon layer of images, text, visual information, found objects and acrylic paint. Images, carefully selected from magazines, books, newspapers and the internet compose my work. I incorporate metal, wire, bits of plastic, mesh, tags, product packaging and other castoff items from my collection of found materials.
Mariah Boyle creates life-sized mixed media drawings and installations that reference the landscape and personal or public memories associated with passing through or spending time in a place. Life in the Northwest has had a strong influence on her work. Her sketchbooks reference these sometimes exciting and sometimes mundane adventures and activities.
Mariah received her BA from Eastern Oregon University and her MFA from Washington State University in 2012. She taught studio art at both of her alma maters before joining the faculty at Spokane Falls Community College. Mariah is a member of the regional artist collective, Saranac Art Projects, in Spokane, Washington.
My work is based on visitations to specific sites to observe and collect details based on a landscape. I use this information to develop site-specific drawings or drawing series. Most artworks are based on abstractions of landscapes and the interactions of people with the natural world. I juxtapose shapes, colors, and textures that represent these spaces to emulate or intensify the similarities or differences present in rural (wild) and urban (cultivated) space. I am interested in how we use, view, and experience nature from multiple points of view, including depictions through old technology (maps) and new ways of seeing (images on a screen). The format of these drawings is often through a grid (they fold up when not on display) that I move around to determine the composition, like a map. At times I also incorporate these vertical and horizontal lines running through the more organic forms, what I consider to be a kind of a bisection of the natural world by people and our affinity for straight lines. Lately, especially when I switched to multiple square formats, I found that my works emulated a large-scale Instagram feed due to the many squares. Seen this way, the individual drawings turn into a wall that brings elements of the natural world, the human world, and the digital world together.
Current I is the beginning of a new set of works that explore the use and history of the Spokane River. When I first began developing these, I found it strange that my initial impulse for researching this space and making these drawings was to go online to find the images, rather than venturing outside my door to take the photos myself or draw from life. It concerns me that, on first impulse, even someone who loves the outdoors would rather look things up on the internet than go to that location. Like my other drawings, these works are made in individual panels that I move around in order to find a composition that I like. The water images are somewhat abstracted from the original images I use as reference and relate to my other works in this way.
May Kytonen is a visual artist based in Seattle, WA, creating work sourced from her mixed Taiwanese heritage. She first became intrigued by the fine art world while exploring fibers at the University of Washington in Seattle, subsequently earning a degree in Interdisciplinary Visual Arts in 2012. Since then, she has exhibited throughout the Pacific Northwest and has won several awards, including a smART Ventures Mini Grant through the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, and an Artist Trust GAP Award in 2017. May’s current body work is an exploration of Asian-American identity, strength within fragility, and connection.
I am captivated by the themes of revelation and mystery: what lays hidden, and what is revealed about one’s narrative and experience. Using paper and materials sourced from my life and Taiwanese culture, I investigate my own history, wounds and identity. These collages serve both as a dissection of my personal pondering and process, and an invitation to explore your own internal worlds.
Laura Ahola-Young received her MFA from San Jose State University in 2001. She currently resides in Pocatello, Idaho where she is an Assistant Professor of Art at Idaho State University. Originally from northern Minnesota, Laura has been influenced by landscapes, winters, ice and resilience. She is currently developing work that incorporates scientific research, the Pacific Northwest and personal narrative.
My work centers on my attempt to pay attention to signage in the natural world.
Through mark making, I am attempting to capture singular instances of temporary phenomenon, consciously and unconsciously transcribing patterns. I research and aesthetically study geography, plant physiology, mining and environmental issues in an attempt to mimic the structures and represent science through meticulous and labored marks. I investigate Prodromes: an internal, structural and organizational system of signage and warnings. Through paint, I am attempting to capture these instances of signs as symptoms: fleeting, a speck, a circumstance, a neural, biological, philosophical, sensory occasion. Prodromes is a word I learned about as a migraine sufferer and it means an early symptom indicating the onset of an attack or a disease. Currently, I am responding to climate crisis, there are symptoms of climate crisis everywhere.
I perceive the world as ambiguous and watching for nuances and details around me is often where I find meaning- small, quiet moments or subtle changes. For years, my work has always been grounded in my attempt to pay attention to signage in the natural world.
Through mark making, I am attempting to capture singular instances of temporary phenomenon, consciously and unconsciously transcribing patterns. My research translates into an act of trying to mimic structures and represent science through meticulous and labored marks.
Merging the ambiguous with scientific data results in layers upon layers of paint, ideas and questions in my work. Metaphors and images cease to exist to allow the possibility of change and new discoveries. Parts of images are sacrificed to the whole. It is this – what is possible and what must be destroyed- that has led me to research visually and intellectually this phenomenon in the natural world. Cells and stars, the miniscule to vast, must experience destruction for life to exist as we know it. My work reflects my desire for absolutes and claims none.
When painting, I am actively creating while simultaneously destroying. I thoroughly develop meanings and imagery in paintings and then cover and rework with glazes, scraping and mark making. What remains the same throughout the painting process is the structure they are forced upon. The structure is both paper and an open narrative. I leave evidence of my search for a completed work – enough of a layer that I begin to believe in a structure’s identity and memory, perhaps its own kind of consciousness.
Love the art? Want to take it home?
You can purchase artwork at the Chase Gallery! For purchasing or with any questions about the gallery or the artwork, please email Mika.