Carl Maxey Center
OUR STORIES OUR VISIONS ARTISTS
Whitney Evans graduated with a BFA in Ceramics from Eastern Washington University in 2018 and currently resides in Spokane, WA. She is a multi-disciplinary artist that continues an evolving development of her “Toast” themes, autobiographical, and surrealistic narratives that she applies to functional and fine art ceramics, sculpture, mixed media and digital works. She attempts to engage viewers with content that’s directly subject to personal thoughts, hidden interpretations, with pop art and minimalist influences.
Sarah Torres is a multi-disciplinary artist based in both Spokane and Seattle, WA, working in painting, video, photography, and digital art. Sarah holds an Associate’s of Fine Arts degree from Spokane Falls Community College and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Washington. Sarah’s work has been included in numerous group exhibitions including “Express Yourself” and “Power to the People – Stick it to the Wall,” at the Terrain gallery (Spokane, WA) and the Apostrophe 2021 Exhibition at Bridgepress Cellars (Spokane, WA). Public works include projection and net-based work for the Black Lens’ Creating Health Initiative and numerous collaborative murals around the city of Spokane, including the BLACK LIVES MATTER mural commissioned by Seven2 + 14Four. Sarah’s illustrations have been published on the cover of The Inlander, an Inland Northwest newspaper based in Spokane, WA.
Exploring the implications of living in a highly digital world, I am investigating the intersections of video, digital photography, painting, and printmaking. I regularly question how materials can be transformed through an extended process, both digitally and physically. Highly inspired by texture and pattern, both naturally occurring and artificially created, I create high contrast motifs that reflect this interest. The source material is typically taken from nature and abstracted to create familiar but non-representational patterning. Interrogating the relationships between human and non-human life is the content of much of my work. There, in the content of my work, can also be found an interest in the function and purpose of language as well as how language can be manipulated and subverted. I explore the meanings and context of visual, verbal, and digital/computer language as well as how they can be used in art to engage different audiences.
Transcription #1 Oil on Canvas 13×13
Transcript #2 (Erasure of Memory) Oil on Canvas 24×25
These paintings are from a new series of work titled Transcriptions of Memory. This body of work explores the mutability of memory, both mental and digital. Do people of the digital age depend more on their devices versus their minds to store their memories? Are our photos, notes, contacts, and even language more or less secure when stored on a piece of hardware? Is there just as much room for manipulation and transformation of our memories when they are digitally stored? The paintings titled Transcription 1 and Transcription 2 are representations of a single video still, or a memory. They were painted in differing manners to emphasize the tendency of experiences to be recalled from memory differently, depending on circumstance. This visually exemplifies the potential for memories or past experiences to live in the body, or device, as an essence or representation of the truth; always subject to change. As some formal elements of the video still were transcribed by hand with paint, some visual information has been selectively omitted.
I am Nicholas Sironka, (I go by Sironka) a Maasai batik artist, with a God given talent. I was born and raised in Kenya, a country in East Africa. We have 42 different tribes in Kenya. Each tribe speaks a distinctively different language from the other. There is however a national language that helps all these tribes communicate with each other – Kiswahili. (Remember ‘Hakuna matte” in the movie Lion King?). I am Maasai, a small pastoralist tribe living mostly in the southern plains of Kenya known as the Rift Valley.
In the year 2000, I was awarded the prestigious Fulbright Scholar-In-Residence Award from the U. S. Government to com teach batik art and Maasai culture at Whitworth University in Spokane Washington.
Ever since childhood I was always fascinated by my Maasai culture, a culture that was very much misinterpreted and misunderstood. It is then that I made it my life’s ambition to find a way to tell the truth about my people and to do so with dignity and truth. With my God given talent I determined that batik was the medium I would use to make good of this quest.
Today I sell my original art and enjoy teaching batik art classes and also continue to hold lectures on the Maasai culture whenever I am invited to do so.
My passion to speak on the facets of my culture portrayed in my pieces has many times been impactful emotionally for those buying my art or simply coming and listening to my explanations of deeper meaning for the paintings. Many asked if I was a counselor, and after much thought, I decided to go to school. I am happy to say that today I hold a degree as a certified substance abuse counselor!
My philosophy: “If I can use my talents to touch another life, and make it better, then I will be fulfilling the purpose for which God put me on this Earth!”
man mythical poet, hue man
I want to express my feelings rather than illustrate them.
I channel my medium for creation through various tools such as, paint brushes, thread, metal, wood, earth, and copper.
My motto “my art 🖼 does not fit into one box 📦”
Denise Roberson’s mother taught her how to sew when Denise started middle school. Many years later, her mother asked her to attend a doll-making class. That was over thirty years ago. Denise creates little sistahs using the female form as inspiration. She believes women are powerful, strong, and capable. The theme of powerful women is evident in her work. Denise writes stories for her little sistahs, giving you a little insight into the sistahs character.
For over thirty years, I have taken flat pieces of fabric and created 3-dimensional figures, my Little Sistahs. When she is fully dressed, her hair and make-up done, she is ready for her story. We sit down at the computer, select a name and write her story. The Little Sistah is now ready for her debut. I want people to find something they can relate to when they see my dolls. I want them to realize the power and beauty of women and recognize we all have something to give.
Story for the Dolls with a shell
Power to the “V”
“IT” is called many things, Vi-Jay-Jay, Yoni, Box, Snapper, and the one we all learned on the playground, Pussy. Reviled and revered, condemned and celebrated. Yet, “IT” is the sacred gateway to life and a beautiful flower that should be honored and protected. The cowrie shell is an ancient symbol of fertility and prosperity.
Many cultures have used the cowrie shell as currency
The question I’m asked most frequently is how a black doctor in his 50s working on the Navajo reservation started doing street art on said reservation. In retrospect, it was only natural for this evolution to occur.
I started working in a small community between the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley called Inscription House in 1987. I’d always been drawn to photography and built a darkroom shortly after my arrival on the Navajo Nation. My passion photographically is shooting black and white in a documentary style inspired by people like Eugene Smith, Eugene Richards, Joseph Koudelka and others. By going out and spending time with people in their homes and family camps, I have come to know them as friends. Interestingly, these home visits enhance my doctor/patient relationship by helping me be a more empathetic health care practitioner.
I’ve always been drawn to street art, graffiti and old school hip-hop. I was attracted to the energy of the culture in the 80s and though I was miles away from the epicenter, I thought of myself as a charter member of the Zulu Nation. I would travel to New York City to see graffiti on trains, on buildings and in galleries. I did some tagging in the 80s before coming to the Navajo Nation and participated with a major billboard “correction” on the reservation shortly after my arrival. My early interventions on the street were largely text based saying things like “Thank you Dr. King. I too am a dreamer” or “Smash Apartheid” and so on.
In 2009 I took a 3-month sabbatical to Brasil which coincided with a difficult period in my life. Though I wasn’t looking for an epiphany, I was fortunate to stumble upon a passionate group of artists working on the street who befriended me. It was during this time that I appreciated how photography could be a street art form. Inspired by Diego Rivera and Keith Haring, I’d become disinterested in showing my photographs in galleries isolated from the people I was photographing and wanted to pursue a more immediate relationship with my community reflecting back to them some of the beauty they’ve shared with me. And in truth, I was infatuated with the feeling I got being with the artists in Salvador do Bahia and wanting to find a way to keep that vibe going I started pasting images along the roadside in June 2009.
My early photographic influences include the work of Joseph Koudelka, Garry Winogrand, Charles Moore, Robert Frank, Eugene Smith, Gordon Parks, Larry Towell, Mary Ellen Mark, Susan Meisalis, Roy DeCarava, Sebastio Salgado and Eugene Richards. I was blown away by Richards’ work in the late 80s and early 90s for Life Magazine and had an opportunity to spend 5 days picking his brain at Santa Fe Photographic Workshops in 1991. It’s this one person with one camera, frequently with only one lens shooting black + white film in ambient light aesthetic that informs my eye as well as 25 years spent in my home darkroom pursing the zone system. It’s been an interesting challenge attempting to bring that look to black and white prints on regular bond paper coming off a toner based plotter. I’d like to think that my vision is a part of the storytelling, first person, humanist tradition of the people I look up to mixed with a healthy dose of Diego Rivera + Keith Haring.
Regardless, I give thanks that the journey continues.
In beauty it is finished.
Art Institute of Chicago / University of Chicago BFA: Studied Art History, Painting, and Printmaking; Lone Mountain College / University of San Francisco MFA: Studied Aesthetics, Art History, and Printmaking
Information Made His Life Matter
By Robert Lloyd
In elementary school when your skin is dark and your nose is broad and your hair is kinky, your peers don’t think your life matters. So, you find a sanctuary in the library. No one beats you up. No one calls you names. You read. You discover how much there is that you don’t know and you can find in a book. A teaching career. A military career. An artist’s career. A medical technical career. A career as a professor of art in Nigeria. African history, philosophy, literature, world travels. Information made his life matter. Charles made his life matter.
I am interested in bringing into focus a particular space of time which most Americans have avoided. I suppose one could say the idea is not to tell a story or narrate history but rather by presenting fragments of history in visual form, ignite thoughts of history in the viewer’s mind at several levels, conscious and unconscious.
The Nigeria Series
The series of paintings and collages is based on my time living and working in West Africa. To express the feeling that Nigeria evokes in me, visually, I use musicians and scenes of everyday life as representational elements with color and movement as the abstract elements overlying the representational ones. Kind of a theory much like music theory can be viewed as cultural constructs. In Western thought, color is described in visual terms, such as pigment or light. In Nigeria, particular in Yoruba land, where I lived, color was described in terms of temperature, from hot to cold, with various colors also having religious connotations. In Nigeria, art is meant to be multiple, multi sensual experience, not simply a matter of sight, something you look at. This series of art represents a distillation of the many feelings I have for West Africa.
My name is Carl Richardson and I have lived in Spokane for the past 25 years. I am a practicing artist and an Instructor of Art at Spokane Falls Community College. I moved the Northwest to pursue my MFA from Washington State University. Prior to moving to Washington, I lived in Florida. I completed my Bachelor’s degree from the HBCU Florida A&M University.
I am a 2D artist with a primary interest in printmaking and drawing. The subject and content of my work varies and is influenced by music, conversations, observations, and the state of the world. The consistent thread in my work is my love of formal structure and design. I often use the golden mean or other geometric layouts as a foundation for my compositions. Through the act of creating I am able to express thoughts and feelings that would otherwise remain silent.