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Jenny Hyde & Cozette Phillips (Curated by Rachel Smith)

02.01.19 - 04.29.19



Curatorial Statement:
Construct features the work of artists’ Jenny Hyde and Cozette Phillips. Their individual studio practices focus on the integration of process and materials as a way to deconstruct and re-contextualize ideas surrounding the body, environment and everyday interactions. Like the word construct, an idea, object or experience can have multiple interpretations depending on the context. The multi-dimensional works presented within this exhibition position the viewer in a relationship of familiarity and obscurity simultaneously. The resulting unfamiliarity allows for a collective knowing as individuals reflect upon similarities and differences within their own histories and experiences.

Hyde’s recreations of common places, objects, and gestures through digital processes highlights the peculiarity and nuance of how they are remembered and experienced. The works on display focus on households, guns and performance as a means to explore the intricacies of American everyday life. The process for creating these works involve the use of digital scanners, cameras, and programs to document, record and methodically reconstruct the household scenes and guns to represent physical evidence of the rural American landscape. In the All-American gun series Hyde notes that the images, “question the cultural identity of Americans in different ways…[by] looking at the romanticized depiction of isolation or ‘independence,’” and adds an additional layer through the titles, which are culled from profiles on dating apps like Tinder, which aim to “give the objects human history and further examine the relationship between Americans and guns.”

Phillips’ sculptural works emphasize the environment and the contrast between its transient yet apparently permanent existence. The casting and fabrication techniques Phillips utilizes are motivated by a delicate and reflective combination of materials, processes and subject matter to examine the concepts of transformation and connectivity. Phillips’ transmutation of trees, birds, and human forms using resin, wood and metals, inexplicably interlaces symbol and subject into a singular experience. Pema Chödrön in her book The Places That Scare You exemplifies the fluidity of nature by stating, “Everything is in process. Everything – every tree, every blade of grass, all the animals, insects, human beings, buildings, the animate and the inanimate – always changing, moment to moment.”

Rachel Smith’s artwork and curatorial projects investigate the complexities of the individual and the collective as it relates to memory, processes, and materials. She has curated numerous exhibitions including: Desire Lines in collaboration with the Spokane Art’s event Saturate and Saranac Art Projects in Spokane, WA and Poetics of Place celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month and the Latinx community at Clyde and Mary Harris Gallery at Walla Walla University in College Place, WA. Her work is on permanent collection at the International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction in Fort Worth, TX, Brooklyn Art Library in New York, and in numerous private collections. Smith received her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Idaho and Bachelor of Art in Commercial Art from Walla Walla University. She currently maintains a studio practice in Walla Walla, WA and is an Assistant Professor of Art at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, WA.


Jenny Hyde
Jenny Hyde is a multi-disciplinary artist from Washington State. Her work explores cultural geography through study of landscape and the body. She works with sound, video, digital print and multi-media installation. Jenny currently teaches digital art at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, WA. She holds an MFA in Integrated Electronic Art from Alfred University (2006) and BFA with a focus in painting from Cornish College of the Arts (1998). Her work has been part of media festivals and exhibitions nationally and abroad. She has been recognized with awards such as the Artist Trust Fellowship, the Faculty Scholarly & Creative Excellence Award at EWU and is a recent Spokane Arts Grants for Artists (SAGA) award recipient from Spokane Arts. In addition to making and exhibiting work, she is an active leader in the Inland Northwest artist community. She is a member of the Chase Gallery Programming Committee, Terrain Gallery Committee and a board member for Laboratory, a Spokane based residency program for interactive art.

Artist Statement
My work involves many processes, from traditional to experimental, but always engages the use of digital technology. To me, the process of creating, saving and then using digital matter emulates how our own experiences are translated to memory and stored in our brains. Just as there is a balance between the mind and the body for our existence, I find a balance between the physical forms of my work and the digital process it took to make it.
Though my work seems varied in medium and content, there is always a connection to American history, physicality and an emphasis on everyday lives. I like to find clues of inner psyche through the display of physical evidence. Like a forensic scientist looking at bones to discover how someone died or lived, or a cultural anthropologist looking at the remains of a civilization for historical truth. I do this but on a much smaller mundane scale. I’m interested in the stuff of contemporary lives, the things in the present. These observations can be piles of trash or the books on a bookshelf or subtle twitches of body language.

Cozette Phillips
Cozette Phillips is an interdisciplinary sculptor and metalsmith whose work is both reflective and formative, highlighting humanities past, present and future influence on the environment. Phillips received her Master of Fine Arts degree from State University of New York at New Paltz and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Columbus College of Art and Design. Artist residencies include Lademoen Kunstnerverksteder in Trondheim, Norway, The School for American Crafts at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY, Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, TX, and a blacksmithing residency at the Metal Museum in Memphis, TN. Her work is in the collection of the Metal Museum, Michigan Legacy Art Park, and on permanent display at Okayakohan Public Park in Okaya, Japan. Phillips’ solo exhibitions include Tributaries at the Metal Museum, In-Between at Cleveland Sculpture Center, Being Neither at The University of Kansas,
Progressions at Babel Kunst in Trondheim, Norway, Vestige at Fort Worth Community Art Center, Where the Blue Sky Turns to Black at Central Michigan University, and Here to There at Saginaw Valley State University. Cozette Phillips maintains a studio practice in Pasco, Washington and is an Assistant Professor of Art at Columbia Basin College.

Artist Statement
My work is both reflective and formative, highlighting humanities past, present and future influence on our constantly changing environment. I endeavor to raise ecological consciousness by capturing the mark of existence in something that is fleeting, impermanent and affected by its surroundings. I interpret natural forms by combining materials such as Stainless Steel, Aluminum, and Recycled Plastics to evoke the impact of industry and development on the natural environment. The tension between material and form speak to the perpetual transformation of our environments, emphasizing that nothing is static or fixed, not the buildings or the trees.

Symbolically, the tree is used to investigate the nature of memory and keeper of knowledge. Every tree tells a story, of the air we breathe, of the land beneath our feet, and of time indicated by the changing seasons. Trees inspire knowledge; they are a source of enlightenment marked by each new growth ring year after year. They record and cleanse the air; they contain it on a molecular level and by doing so give life to memories. In my work, the abstraction and re-interpretation of the tree is an opportunity for reflection, to contemplate past action as well as the transformative impact we can have in the present moment.

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