Wenatchee Valley College Art Department colleagues Scott Bailey, Natalie Dotzauer and Yev Rybakov decided in May they wanted to collaborate on a fall exhibit in the Music and Art Center Gallery.
That was the easy part.
“We met a number of times in June to come up with a plan for the project,” Bailey said. “I think the hardest part was settling on this project among the many interesting possibilities we brainstormed together.”
Their goal, they said, was to challenge themselves to step outside their comfort zones and collaborate on an installation that would be completely distinct from their individual practices.
Bailey, the director of WVC’s art department, teaches painting, drawing and art appreciation. He is primarily a painter, but has exhibited work in a variety of forms, including drawings, sculptures, installations and video. He often uses the genre of landscape painting as a vehicle for his concepts, searching for visceral expressions of the challenge to remain fully human in the Anthropocene, a world simultaneously augmented and corrupted by technology.
Dotzauer teaches sculpture, drawing, art appreciation and other courses at WVC full-time. Her works include interactive installations that engage viewers in multi-sensory experiences, evoking a down-home feel, but with a witty and ironic edge.
Rybakov, the department’s instructional technician, is an artist whose passion for design and nature manifests in painting, drawing, photography and jewelry making. Some of his installations explore relationships between the functional and non-functional properties of furniture, and aquarium design, because of its potential to combining virtually all of the mediums into a single context.
They began with the understanding that the gallery provided a blank canvas for an infinite number of directions, and then looked to the visual language of the empty space for inspiration.
The space’s distinguishing characteristics include the pivoting entryway, the wood slat ceiling, the metal band wrapping the bottom of the walls and concrete floor that creates, essentially, a white-cube space.
The big I-beam at the entrance — an architecturally necessary obstruction — is usually ignored by art exhibitors. They decided to bring it front and center, multiplying the form to create a virtual forest of the structures, designing and building 10 fake beams, made of wood, but the same size and shape as the steel one that is always in the gallery.
Arranging a stand of the pillars in the space felt playful, similar to the fort-making activities they all enjoyed as children, Bailey said.
“The venture attempts to create an inviting atmosphere out of an austere architectural necessity, giving the pillar a visual purpose by amplifying its presence,” he said.
With seating, lighting and other subtle adjustments, their hope is that MAC visitors will want to spend time hanging out there and interacting with the space.
“ReStructured: A Site-Specific Collaboration” opens Sept. 23 and runs through Oct. 25. An opening receptions is set from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 4.
The gallery is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, the regular hours of the MAC.