Daniel Forbes, Co-coordinator (Sheehan Gallery/Art); Kynde Kiefel Co-coordinator (Sheehan Gallery); Krista Gulbranson (Art History & Visual Cultural Studies);  Robert Sickels (Film & Media Studies); and Jenna Terry (English/General Studies).
Walla Walla Modern: Biography, Context, and Translations     Report - Forbes/Kiefel Workshop
Description: This workshop will explore the work and lives of three Walla Walla artists: Ruth Fluno, Richard Jens Rasmussen, and Jeanette Jackson Murphy. These three individuals functioned as their own exhibiting group for over a decade. They were also an important part of a larger, vibrant creative community during the 1950s and 60s, their work reflecting local, regional, and global art movements. Fluno, Rasmussen, and Murphy all left their artistic fingerprints on the Walla Walla and Whitman College communities through their visual artwork and writings, which remains visible in Whitman's collections, classrooms, and campus mythology.

The workshop aims to answer the following questions: Why do the lives of these three artists still hold such fascination? What is the cultural context inside which each of these artists operated and how did it affect their work and their teaching? In what ways did gender expectation, mental eccentricities, and shifts in belief manifest in their art? How do these three artist fit into the larger movements of their time and the present? How best might we translate these artists' lives and creations into a multi-media gallery display, as well as into Whitman College curriculum?

The group will utilize texts such as The Lure of the Local by Lucy Lippard, Gendered: Art and Feminist Theory by Tal Dekel, Feeling Modern: The Eccentricities of Public Life by Justus Nieland and Technologies of History: Visual Media and the Eccentricity of the Past (Interfaces: Studies in Visual Culture) by Steve F. Anderson. In considering Ruth Fluno, the group will also examine the biographies and works of Diane Arbus, Sylvia Plath, and Adrian Rich, as well as articles such as ‘The Exploration of Identity through Self-Portraiture' and ‘Feminism and Portraiture'.

The work from the Walla Walla Modern CDLTI will manifest during the Fall Semester of 2016, with faculty group members utilizing this workshop for their own courses in a variety of ways. Krista Gulbransen's AHVCS students will engage in assignments centered around the Sheehan Gallery's Walla Walla Modern October 2016 exhibition, creating their own virtual exhibitions inspired by the work on display. Jenna Terry's English and/or Encounters students will analyze the writings of Fluno in relation to her artwork and feminism. Robert Sickels documentary collaboration with former Whitman student, Evan Martin, about Fluno, Rasmussen, and Murphy will be assigned to his Film & Media Studies students as an example of biographical documentary, in conjunction with the analysis of other films on the lives of artists. Daniel Forbes will use Walla Walla Modern with his foundation students to illustrate the evolution of individual artistic symbolic syntax and the ways recurring themes transcend singular media expressions. Finally, Kynde Kiefel will utilize the workshop to inform the exhibition and create a catalogue and website featuring the work of Ruth. This CDLTI and resulting exhibition will offer not only cross-disciplinary, but cross-community learning opportunities, serving Whitman campus, as well as Walla Walla Community College, Walla Walla University, Walla Walla Public Schools, and Picture Lab.