Utopia Neighborhood Club: a Student Response Pt II at Jacob Lawrence Gallery

It’s been 100 years since Jacob Lawrence, the incredible being and painter, was born. To celebrate they put out a call for work that “was not limited to objects but open to proposals for events that could take place in the Gallery, new ideas for the operation of the Gallery, manifestos concerning the Gallery’s stated goals, etc.”

Utopia is No-Place, and therefore it is left up to all of us to find it. —Stephen Duncombe

My response is Within Range, a suite of artwork pertaining to the imagining of a post-apocalyptic world in the form of abstracted landscapes, gestural musings and mixed media. Visitors and I will collaborate to create a mural, our perfect world. It’s a nonsensical, potentially derelict environment but it is ours and good things are happening. Obstructing and yet enhancing the view is Distortion, a sculptural element made from recycled materials.

It is an honor in the extreme to have my art hang in the room beside Jacob Lawrence’s. It’s . I have gratitude by the heap for departing director Scott Lawrimore, new director Emily Zimmerman, curators Nadia Ahmed (Art History + 3D4M undergraduate), Sarah G. Faulk (Art History undergraduate), and an extra heap for Anqi Peng (IVA BA 2016)who is an exceptionally helpful person, plus Grace Chakrian for being my first collaborator. And, of course Matt, Honeybee extraordinaire who helped with hanging and patience with no sleep. Even in delirium, he’s incredible.


The Stranger suggests you go, so…

See you there!


2016_Sunshine Signature_grey burst

Event: 1/16th at Sand Point Gallery

Join us on Tuesday, November 29th at Sand Point Gallery for some top-shelf, high-brow, full-on fine art. Our poster, created by the very talented Jenn Watts, features a preview of all the beauty to be beheld. Trust me when I say I am as excited to see what’ll be on display as I am to present the paintings I’ve been working on. There will be something for everyone, and wine!

If you’re in the Seattle area, we’d love to see you!

Unbound Collective: 2016 IVA Senior Exhibition

Having just recently exhibited alongside classmates in my IVA Senior Show, you better believe I was making it a point to support the next round of talented artisans.

Unbound Collective

I missed the opening night due to an appointment running over time. [Rude, lady!] Ultimately, though, everything worked out for the best. Honeybee and I were offered a behind the scenes, personal glimpse into each exhibit. And were knighted by the King of Appropriation. How many people can honestly say that?

If you’re new here, IVA stands for Interdisciplinary Visual Arts. That said, you can expect a wide range of work at a show like this. With that much variation from piece to piece it can be a challenge to create a cohesive experience, yet as we promenaded the gallery the flow was smooth and natural.


Tucked in a room off to the side played Alana Crawley’s video wherein shadows and whispers grow as if from nowhere into a daunting character that is equal parts captivating and frightening. Ultimately, though I was relieved whatever it was was free to be itself.

Then looking at the wall text my impressions are confirmed:

“The being in this film is a physical representation of negative internal loops and their manifestation into our real worlds.”


Fiona’s intaglio prints were entrancing, pulling us in from across the room. To know printmaking is to love printmaking… or hate it. It’s not surprising a process so labor intensive can rub some folks the wrong way. I feel an inherent camaraderie with Fiona because we both get down on the printing press. “These prints were inspired by artificial photos of cities drowning in rising sea levels.”

Another standout piece was Emily Adams—aka Emma’s cut paper piece. The cut paper is lovely enough, but really the joy is sneaking a peek at the play of light and shadow. Every time I see Emma’s work I want more. That’s a good sign if ever there was one.

We also really dug this found object piece titled Eye Candy for the Hands by Kayu Cheung. It’s made entirely of plastic gloves and drinking straws on wood.


Mik‘s performance as the King of Appropriation was extra special for us as we were privileged to have a live explanation of his intended response. The wall text offered phony information. It’s revealed through a looping video that we were invited to choose a fabric scrap that appealed to our sensibilities for whatever reason, a pin and attach the fabric to the King’s robes. In doing so we became members in a community. Having successfully completed these tasks, the King then knighted us as we knelt before him in turn. As we returned to meet his gaze, Mik bestows the true meaning of his work:

The King of Appropriation manifests the concept that individuals carry their own unique culture that was cultivated by personal experiences & is not bound by a singular association to a group, nation or demographic. Our individual culture contributes to the interminable fashioning of subjective identity of others in close proximity or social media’s reach whether we’re consciously aware of it or not. We incessantly lay imprints of our individuality in other’s identity through interactions, big or small, contributing to the eternal molding of one’s personal culture. Therefore, we all play a part in a never-ending interpersonal collaboration that is the phenomenon of personal cultural exchange.

Learn more at Mikhail Roque‘s site.


Contributing Artists:

Emma Adams | Esther Bae | Allie Beeninga | Hui Cao | Kayu Cheung | Fiona Clark | Alana Crawley | Sonja Cunningham | Kristen Dong | Amanda Franz | Jiyoung Hur | Jackson Irvine | Alexander Xavier James | Hyery Kang | Cheng Li | Amber Moore | Kate Mortensen | Anqi Peng | Mikhail Roque | Haein Yoo

So what do you think? Any pieces you fell in love with? Are you an artist creating feverishly or more of an enthusiast, down for the casual gallery hopping? For me, art is just as fun to look at as to create. Leave your impressions in the comments below and, as always, don’t forget to Like, and Subscribe for more Wrays of Sunshine.

Brianna Wray Signature









Credits: Thanks to all the artists who participated in the event. All photos were shot by Sunshine, featuring other artist’s work. I was able to ask permission from a few, but not everyone individually. Each artist’s name is listed in the title. If you are an artist and you prefer not to be included, please email me.