Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

September 29, 2004

Whitworth Alumnus Transforms Trash into Treasure in Art Exhibit

As he combines soda cans and cereal boxes, his imagination and a trace of poetry, 1972 Whitworth alumnus Rik Nelson transforms garbage into art.

Nelson's exhibit, "Sanctuary," will be on display Oct. 12-Nov. 19 in the Koehler Gallery, located in the Fine Arts Building at Whitworth College. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, please call (509) 777-3258.

An opening reception will be held Tuesday, Oct. 12, from 5-7 p.m. in the Koehler Gallery. During the reception, at 6 p.m., Nelson will discuss his work in a lecture in Weyerhaeuser Hall, Room 203.

Nelson, who works in mixed-media collage and assemblage, creates his imagery by recycling the leftover scraps of our consumer culture, says Whitworth Assistant Professor of Art and Koehler Gallery Director Scott Kolbo.

Nelson uses what people would normally throw away "to create beautiful objects that transcend the commonness of the source material," says Kolbo, who adds that in his works, Nelson adds "an element of language and literary sophistication by embedding a poem or phrase related to the subject."

In addition to the exhibit, Nelson will also run a community-art workshop for Whitworth students in two sessions: Oct. 19 and Oct. 26 from 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. During the workshop, Nelson will explain how he collaborates with groups of people to create large-scale public artworks.

Nelson received his M.A. from Eastern Washington University in 1978. Nelson's works have been displayed in a 2001 solo exhibit, "Piece By Piece" at the Lorinda Knight Gallery, in Spokane, and in collaborative exhibits including the 1982 Red Wedge Destruction-Construction Show at the WPA Gallery, in Chicago, Ill., the "Off The Bed and Onto the Wall" show at Spokane's Chase Gallery, the 4th annual "Art In Port Townsend" juried show, in 2002, and the Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival, in Twin Lakes Park, Greensburg, Penn.

Nelson received the 2001 Juror's Choice 2nd Place award at the Multi-Media Juried Art Exhibit, in Gresham, Ore. He also received commissions for "2002 It's About Time For.," sponsored by First Night Spokane, and "Around The World," sponsored by 21st Century Community Learning Centers, in Spokane.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls 2,400 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.


Scott Kolbo, assistant professor of art, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4711 or skolbo@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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