Eastern Oregon University > Academics > Whitman artists explore the meanings and traditions of painting

Whitman artists explore the meanings and traditions of painting

Whitman artists explore the meanings and traditions of painting

Andrew Somoskey, Untitled
32″ x 24″, oil on canvas (2020)

Jan. 4, 2022 LA GRANDE, Ore. – The Nightingale Gallery at Eastern Oregon University begins Winter Term with an exhibition by Walla Walla artists Andrew and Emily Somoskey.

The Somoskey’s will hold a public talk introducing their work on Jan. 13, and their exhibition, “Vis-à-vis” opens Jan 14.

“Vis-à-vis” consists of a variety of works that explore and expand upon the traditions of painting. Emily’s mixed-media work on canvas integrates layers of paint and collaged digital prints, while Andrew’s includes oil painting on canvas, wall-based installation and vinyl collage. 

The French term “vis-à-vis” originally referred to a carriage where passengers faced one another, and came to describe two entities in opposition or working alongside one another. It’s direct translation refers to two things that are face-to-face. This proximity generates a dialogue that inspires and drives the exhibition. 

As partners with separate artistic practices, their work is connected through their proximity, continual dialogue and response to one another’s work, along with a general set of shared values and ideas about the world. These conversations directly and indirectly influence each artist’s process, formal decisions, and ideas that come to shape their respective artistic practices.

Both Emily and Andrew hail from Ohio and earned MFA degrees from Michigan State University. They now nurture student artists at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. 

“‘Vis-à-vis’ encourages viewers to explore Emily and Andrew’s complex, layered compositions, as well as engage in the ongoing dialogue of the two artists’ works,” Gallery Director Cory Peeke said. 

Both Emily and Andrew’s work examines the ways in which we navigate transitional spaces and the systems within our environments through the language of abstraction. 

“The systems I reference within my process center around textual and symbolic language. They also refer to the history of abstraction,” Andrew said.

While Andrew’s work is based in encoding and decoding text, and Emily’s mixed-media work is based in the pieces and fragments from the world itself, they both ask, “How do we navigate the familiar and respond to the unknown?” 

“My work gives form to the complexity, instability, and enigmatic nature of our lived experiences,” Emily said. 

“Vis-à-vis” opens with a reception for the artists from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 14 in the gallery located in Loso Hall, and runs through Feb. 9. 

The gallery is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Proper face coverings are required of all campus visitors and social distancing is encouraged. The Somoskey’s will also present a public talk about their work at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 13 in Badgley Hall’s Huber Auditorium.

For more information, visit eou.edu/art or follow the Nightingale Gallery on Facebook and Instagram.

To request images of artwork for publication or to schedule an interview with the artist please contact Gallery Director Cory Peeke at cpeeke@eou.edu.