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Visual Artists to Exhibit Sculpture Series at Whitworth University

Artists Sharon K. Sinerius Rupp and Katrina Humbert will exhibit their mixed media collaborative sculpture series, "The Presence of Woman," at the Koehler Gallery, Fine Arts Building at Whitworth University . The exhibit will run Wednesday, Feb. 13 through Thursday, March 14. Gallery hours are 8 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Admission is free. An opening reception will be held Wednesday, Feb. 13, from 5-7 p.m. in the Koehler Gallery. Rupp will discuss the exhibit at 6 p.m. during the opening reception.

The artists' sculptures, which range in height from 18 to 38 inches, were crafted from Vashon White clay, which was mixed with ground pieces of fired clay to prevent warping. All of the works are representative of women and utilize the nude figure as a metaphor.

According to the artists, the series represents many of the different attitudes expressed by and towards women throughout historical and contemporary society. Each figure tells its own story by exposing its distorted truths and lies.

The treatment of the non-glaze ceramic surface of their works is nontraditional, Rupp says. The sculptures were coated with an emulsion and photographs were developed on the surfaces of the sculptures. The surfaces were then worked with oils, acrylics and other mediums.

Found objects were incorporated into many of the sculptures. "Baby Maker" utilizes parts from a bubble gum machine and the "Plastic Freedom" sculpture carries a torch made from a chair leg, tuna and mushroom cans, and a fire and crown of hammered copper. Other pieces have handcrafted steel or wood heads, and another piece has innards represented by a fire alarm.

Rupp regularly exhibits her work throughout the country, including the Mary Vitold Gallery in Seattle, the Agora Gallery in Soho, New York, and the EMU Gallery at the University of Oregon. Rupp has received jurors' awards for her work and she is a former recipient of an Artist's Trust GAP Grant and has served as a GAP panelist.

In February of 1996 members of Pasco City Hall removed three of Rupp's installed works from an exhibit because they felt the works could possibly be construed as prurient or political in content, Rupp says. The issue was taken to court, where the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Rupp's favor. The city of Pasco then appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which upheld the circuit court's ruling.

Humbert, who specializes in pottery, has had her works shown in exhibits and art galleries in Washington, New York, and California.

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