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Visiting Artist + Speakers Series


The Department offers a robust visiting artist and speaker series each year. Recent and current visiting artists/scholars include: George Rodriguez, Rick Poynor, Noelle Mason, Sonny Assu, Natalie Krick, Amy Babinec, Humaira Abid, Tatiana Garmendia, Elizabeth Crisman, Alison Bremner, Dr. Adair Rounthwaite, Rex Peteet, Joan Linder, Horatio Law, Nicole Pietrantoni, Jono Vaughan, Bahareh Khoshooee and Michelle Dunn Marsh.


In reference to its origins in Chinese folklore, Rodriguez reimagined Chinese zodiac animals as creatures of Mexican origin, bridging cultures and creating new narratives. Each collaborating artist crafted their sculpture, the zodiac animal of their birth year, enhancing it with their personal perspective and a feeling of celebration. The participating artists include:  Javier Barboza, Alejandra Carrillo-Estrada, Eric J. Garcia, Jon Gómez, Carolina Jiménez, Gabriel Marquez, Gustavo Martinez, Marilyn Montufar, Gabriela Ramírez Michel, Yosimar Reyes, Moises Salazar, Samirah Steinmeyer, and Christie Tirado.

Born and raised in the border city of El Paso, Texas, George Rodriguez creates humorous decorative ceramic sculpture addressing his identity and community. The first in his family to finish college, he received a BFA in ceramics from the University of Texas El Paso then went on to receive an MFA from the University of Washington. Rodriguez is represented by Foster/White Gallery in Seattle, and is the Artist in Residence at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture in Philadelphia.


Humaira Abid was born and raised in Lahore, Pakistan. She immigrated to the United States in 2008 and now lives and works in Seattle, Washington. Through her artistic process Abid gathers ordinary objects from everyday life and transforms them into something extraordinary. Her turned and carved wood sculpture and paintings—known for their exquisite detail—depict human relationships, societal repression, and the consequences of keeping basic truths from being discussed and shared. The beauty and seductive virtuosity of her work offset her political, ironic, provocative, and even scandalous objects and installations.
Abid received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture and miniature painting from the National College of Arts, Lahore, in 2000. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally including in Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Mauritius, Nepal, Kenya, Dubai, Bolivia, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom. She is the recipient of numerous honors, most recently the 2019 Artist Trust Arts Innovator Award.
Humaira Abid’s lecture is part of a series of programs engaging interdisciplinary topics within the visual arts and hosted by the CWU Department of Art + Design.


Using the image of the bride as a surrogate for exceptional women who have been forgotten or obscured by history, Garmendia paints women who transformed themselves into exemplars despite cultural obstacles.  All of the women, like the voice of Anne Sexton’s lonely outsider in the poem Her Kind for which the exhibit is titled, defy the restrictions of their times and cultures.
From queens and Nobel prize winners, to soldiers and legendary doctors, Garmendia reimagines the female form as a site of distortion and transformation in a variety of media. The portraits are created in oils, acrylics, watercolors, and mixed media drawings, both large and small.
Tatiana Garmendia has taught painting at Seattle Central College for over twenty years. She received her M.F.A. from the Pratt Institute of Art in Brooklyn, New York. Garmendia was a 2019 Neddy at Cornish award finalist for painting, and has received the Cintas International Fellowship, Artist Trust Fellowship, and Pollock Krasner Fellowship. Her works are in public collections in Seattle, New York, Washington D.C., Miami, Illinois, California, Ohio, and the Dominican Republic.


Amy Babinec’s artwork focuses on lost memory, trauma, and DIY archaeology. An upbringing in the coal country of Illinois has informed her practice of documenting abandoned mines.
Babinec states, “I am drawn to domestic objects that have been left in the mines as trash, such as fragments of teacups, spoons, and jars. For me these domestic fragments become relics of previous generations, prompts for memories, and reminders of loss and longing. I process these fragments and ruins in my paintings and drawings, rendering them as archaeological specimens.“ Babinec received her MFA from the University of Chicago, her MA in art history and archaeology from the University of Maryland, and her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She currently teaches painting and drawing at colleges in the Chicago area and is an artist-educator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Her work has appeared in exhibitions nationwide.


The CWU Department of Art + Design featured a lecture by visiting artist Sonny Assu. Sonny Assu is a Ligwilda’xw of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nations artist who resides in his ancestral home in Campbell River, British Columbia.  

Sonny Assu was raised in North Delta, British Columbia, over 150 miles away from his ancestral home. Having been raised as your everyday average suburbanite, it wasn’t until he was eight years old that he discovered his heritage. Later in life, this discovery would be the conceptual focus that helped launch his unique art practice.

Assu’s artistic practice is diverse: spanning painting, sculpture, photography, digital art, and printmaking. His work combines Western and pop culture references with Kwakwaka’wakw imagery as a means of exploring his family history and his experiences of being an indigenous person in the colonial state of Canada.

Assu received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Emily Carr University in 2002 and was the recipient of their distinguished alumni award in 2006. He earned his Master of Fine Arts degree from Concordia University in 2017 and was one of the Laureates for the Hnatyshyn Foundation’s 2017 REVEAL-Indigenous Art Awards. His work is included in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Seattle Art Museum, Vancouver Art Gallery, Burke Museum at the University of Washington, Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, among others.

Assu recently completed an artist residency at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich, United Kingdom. His current exhibition Sonny Assu—A Radical Mixing is on view through October 26 at the Canada Gallery, Canada House Trafalgar Square, in London.


The CWU Department of Art + Design featured a lecture by visiting scholar Rick Poynor. Poynor is a writer, lecturer, curator, and Professor of Design and Visual Culture at the University of Reading in England.  The topic of Poynor’s lecture is the late David King, a British designer, activist, and visual historian, whose collection of photographs and graphics from the Russian Revolution are held in the collection of the Tate museum.

In his talk Poynor will consider David King’s achievements and legacy. King began as a designer on the Sunday Time Magazine in London, where he became an award-winning visual journalist. He was a brilliant editor of photographs in projects such as I am King (1975), his photo-biography of Muhammad Ali.

After a trip to Moscow, King started amassing photographs and graphics from the Russian Revolution, going on to build up one of the largest private collections in the world. Using this spectacular archive, he authored ground-breaking studies of Russian visual history, such as The Commissar Vanishes (1997). In parallel, King produced hard-hitting and highly influential posters for social and political causes. He designed magazines, book covers, catalogues and cultural posters in the same highly personal, typographically dynamic style.


The CWU Department of Art + Design featured a lecture by visiting visual artist Noelle Mason.

Noelle Mason is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work examines the power facilitated by systems of visual and institutional control.  Noelle has shown nationally and internationally in a variety of non-traditional spaces, galleries, and institutions including the National Museum of Mexican Art, Orlando Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg. She is the recipient of a Joan Mitchell Foundation Artist Grant, Jerome fellowship, Santo Foundation Individual Artist Grant, the Florida Prize for Contemporary Art and the Southern Prize. She receieved her MFA in Studio art from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently an Associate Professor of Art at the University of South Florida.

Mason’s work is radical and ground breaking as she reimagines the boundaries in art as well as in social issues. She has firmly established herself as an artist at the leading edge of her discipline who can transform images through a variety of sculptural and craft mediums into a cathartic and illuminating presentation of new ideas about shared cultural trauma. From racism to the war on terror, from the experiences of undocumented immigrants to the impact of capital punishment, Noelle explores and illuminates the most dehumanizing aspects of our society. 

The Department of Art + Design, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and CWU's Equality through Queers and Allies organization (EQuAl) presented an artist lecture by Jono Vaughan.

Jono Vaughan is a Seattle-based artist exploring gender identity and violence against the trans community in variety of media including drawing, painting, printmaking, video and performance. Currently, Vaughan has an exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum, Project 42.

“Project 42 addresses the pattern of violence against transgender people in the United States, providing both a form of memorialization and an entry point for engagement and discussion. Begun in 2012, the project’s name is taken from the short life expectancy of transgender individuals in the United States, which the artist estimates is forty-two years, based—in lieu of official census data, which excludes trans identities—on third-party texts and research. Eventually the artist plans to make forty-two individual works. Each of the three dresses in this exhibition memorializes the life and death of a transgender person who was murdered: Myra Ical, Deja Jones, and Lorena Escalera Xtravaganza. Vaughan alters images of the murder locations and turns them into abstract textile prints, which she then sews into a garment. The style of the garment is inspired by the life and history of the individuals. A collaborator wears each dress in a performance that commemorates and celebrates the individual, an act that Vaughan describes as ‘the returning of humanity and the sharing of missed opportunities.’”

Jono Vaughan received her Bachelors in Fine Arts from The School of Visual Arts in New York City, Masters of Arts in Teaching in the Visual Arts from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and Masters of Fine Arts at The University of South Florida. Vaughan currently serves as Assistant Professor of Drawing & Painting at Bellevue College.

The CWU Department of Art + Design presented a lecture by visiting artist Alison Bremner.

Alison Bremner is a multidisciplinary Tlingit artist who explores indigenous identity through humor. Painting, woodcarving, regalia, and digital collage are a few of the mediums she employs. In addition to her contemporary art practice, Bremner is committed to revitalizing the Tlingit language and creating works for traditional and ceremonial use. Born and raised in Southeast Alaska, she is considered the first Tlingit woman to carve and raise a totem pole.

Bremner’s work is held in numerous public collections including the Burke Museum and the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, Washington; the Portland Art Museum in Oregon; Château Musée Boulogne-sur-Mer in France; and the British Museum in London.

Dr. Rounthwaite is a specialist in contemporary art and Assistant Professor in Art History at the University of Washington. The topic of her lecture is “Writing in the Streets: Language and Experimental Art in 1970s Yugoslavia.”

Since the advent of Conceptualism, an art movement from the 1960s, artists in many different parts of the world have used language as an important part of their visual art practices. This lecture analyzes works by Mladen Stilinović and Vlado Martek, two young artists based in Zagreb, in Communist Yugoslavia, in the late 1970s. For Martek and Stilinović words and performances of reading and writing were central to art-making. In their practices, language was connected to questions about the relationship between aesthetics and politics, in a politically conservative decade following the failure of mass political protests in Yugoslavia. 


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