BFA student exhibitions at OSU- Cascades give the community a first look toward emerging artists

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Graphic by Spencer Light | The Broadside (Contact: slight@cocc.edu)

By Katya Agatucci | The Broadside (Contact: kagatucci2@cocc.edu)

After years of dedication to their work and education, two artists emerged into the creative community from OSU-Cascades’ Bachelor of Fine Arts program.

Alicia Welbourn and Erica Durtschi, who both took art classes at Central Oregon Community College, showcased their body of work on the second floor of the dining hall, and it will be up for display until the end of the spring term.

Welbourn’s pieces on display included a three-panel piece inspired by the Eagle Creek Fire that burned in the Columbia River Gorge from September to November 2017. “I felt like I had to say something about it. We were just coming out of summer, it was still smoky outside from all of the wildfires, and the devastation was fresh in my mind. I was moved to create something that expressed how deeply it affected me and so many others.”

A three panel mixed media piece titled 43,000. Welbourn states that the works act as a timeline of her own experiences and exploration in the outdoors.

The panel pieces were made from a large body of monotype prints that were collaged with various materials including drawings, topographic maps, fabric pieces, sewing pins, and thread. Welbourn also painted and burned the wood panels she adhered her collages to.

After spending two terms putting together the panel pieces, Welbourn started to see the repeating patterns she was working with everywhere, and added photography to her body of work that echoes the aesthetic of her collage pieces. “There’s a lot of repeating patterns in my work that I see outside and in nature. I took photos of things that reminded me of those patterns and revealed the similarities that occur in nature when you look at it both up close and from a distance.”

Karen Ellis, adjunct faculty of art, said that over the years she has observed Welbourn and her love of the beauty of landscape. “[It] morphed into a passion for caring for the land and for raising awareness about the importance of getting to know about and care about our environment,” Ellis said. ”Her images are highly original and expose the personal vision of an artist who cares deeply and is willing to go to great lengths to express it through innovative visual communication. Alicia’s images make a strong impression and remain with you long after you’ve experienced them.”

For the last 10 months, Durtschi has put together a body of work with three-dimensional art and stop-motion photography that has come from a lifelong interest in penguins and her father’s career as an auto pilot.

A three dimensional sculpture titled Binky, made of aluminum wire, liquid latex, masking tape, textile fabric, beads, hot glue, and yarn.

I’ve always grown up around airplanes and thought it would be fun to play with the idea of making a penguin fly,” Durtschi said. She planned out the puppets that were used in the animated video that was put together, created and decorated them, developed the story line, created a set, took photos, and then edited the images, and added sound. The shelves that were presented at the exhibition were made by Durtschi also.

Ellis said that Durtschi’s vivid imagination has allowed her to create models to interact and in turn, become part of a larger metaphor. “Her animations tell stories that are entertaining, yet open-ended as far as interpretation is concerned. Exquisite craftsmanship combined with inventive ideation mark her as a true creative. Whether she works solo or as part of a design team, Erica is a difference maker.”

Welbourn enjoys working with a variety of media and is open to anything in the creative field post graduation. She also plans on working on her small business, creating prints and cards to sell online. “I love the idea that my work could help someone bring a bit of the magic of the outdoors into their own space.”

Durtschi plans on enjoying summer break and beginning a job hunt, “I really am not sure what exactly that means. But I have a mix of graphic design and artistic expertise so I feel confident that I can figure it out.”

“The 2018 OSU-Cascades BFA students are true artists. They both exhibit expertise in making dynamic pieces completely by hand in addition to a high degree of fluency with media technology,” Ellis said. 

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