Sarah Spurgeon Gallery hosts first SOIL Art Collective exhibit

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Photo by Andrew Ulstad.

Display of glass art at Sarah Spurgeon Art Gallery.

Andrew Ulstad, Staff Reporter

The Sarah Spurgeon Art Gallery in Randall Hall has officially opened the first exhibit of the new quarter, featuring art from the SOIL Collective. The multi-artist exhibit entitled “Tangents…I was thinking about the stars” will be on display until Oct. 22.

SOIL is known for pushing the boundaries of what is perceived as art. Founded in 1995, SOIL has become a mainstay in the Seattle art scene. They have displayed everything from painting, sculpture, mixed media installations and experiential art in their Seattle gallery.

As a nonprofit collective and gallery, SOIL focuses on bringing fringe and experimental art into a gallery environment. Their gallery in Pioneer Square even reserves the front-facing space for submission exhibits in an attempt to encourage lesser-seen artists and art styles

The SOIL website said just about any work can be displayed “provided it is accepted by the membership.” 

The exhibit focuses on a sense of interconnectedness in the “Tangents…I was thinking about the stars.” According to the panel presentation before the opening of the exhibit, SOIL derived the title from the idea that humans naturally create patterns, like when mankind first looked upon the stars and instinctively started connecting dots to create constellations.

At the opening on Sept. 29, Gallery Director Heather Horn Johnson said one of the driving factors in booking SOIL was their connection to the CWU community. Philippe Hyojung Kim received his bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the university in 2016. Johnson said she hopes this connection combined with the longevity of the SOIL Collective will help to create a sense that young artists can be successful, even with non-traditional media. 

SOIL artist Colleen RJC Bratton said her process was very fluid. 

“I start with an idea,” Bratton said. “Then I experiment and see what material suits the subject.”

The exhibit features pieces from 22 members of SOIL, including Kim. As a CWU alumnus, one of his goals in organizing the exhibit was to encourage art students to form a support system of artists. 

“Family is not what you’re born into,” Kim said. “It’s the connections you make.” 

Kim attributes his success to the support system he found in his cohort while at school and now within the SOIL collective.

Kim’s beliefs struck a chord with students in attendance. 

Junior fine arts student Tyler Raymundo said he had not deeply considered the effect of his fellow art students upon his work before attending the opening. Raymundo said community was an essential part of what separates good art from meaningful art.

“Tangents…I was thinking about the stars” will be on display in the Sarah Spurgeon Gallery in Randall Hall until Oct. 22. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 1-5 p.m. and admission is free.