June 14, 2024

USUE’s art faculty’s work at Gallery East in February

“Blue Hill Dairy” by Jason Huntzinger
“Turning Torso” by Chris Kanyusik
“I Love You Say It Back” by Ike Bushman
“Vapor Plumes at Mid-day” by Noel Carmack

Four-Utah State University Eastern art instructors have paintings, photographs and sculpture on display in this month’s Gallery East exhibit. The Art Faculty exhibition runs through Feb. 26.

“This show has been a long time coming,” gallery director Noel Carmack said. “I don’t remember ever sharing the work of the college art faculty in the 12 years I’ve been at CEU/USUE.” Having suffered some devastating blows to the program after the recession, Carmack feels that the outlook is good for the art program at Utah State University Eastern. “We lost two full-time faculty and an adjunct faculty member before the merger with USU. It was like losing two or three limbs. I wasn’t feeling hopeful in the wake of the cuts.”

In the ensuing years since the merger with Utah State University in 2010, the art program was bolstered by a new building and classroom facilities. The campus gallery (Gallery East) was included in the new building plan. Then, in 2016, a search for someone to fill a full-time sculpture/ceramics position resulted in Christopher Kanyusik joining the program. Jason Huntzinger, a photographer living in Helper, also joined the team as an adjunct instructor teaching introductory photo classes.

Last year when Carmack went on sabbatical, Provo artist Ike Bushman filled the year-long vacancy. Bushman, a printmaker and painter, made the commute to Price twice a week to teach classes.

Thus this show features work by Carmack, Kanyusik, Huntzinger and Bushman. 

According to Carmack, the visual arts facilities and hiring of new faculty has been like a resurrection of sorts. The university’s curriculum committee recently approved an AA degree in visual art for the USUE art program and Carmack and his colleagues are hopeful that the new degree offering will bring more fledgling artists to their classes. 

“We’re excited at the possibilities of having declared art majors who will benefit from getting a strong foundation in our classes at USU Eastern,” Carmack said.

Bushman, holds an MFA in printmaking from the University of Alberta, and has been making art (printmaking, sculpture, and painting) with a variety of media for many years. He is currently using old blankets, quilts, shirts and even discarded shutters for supports on which to paint his text-based paintings.

Carmack is associate professor of art at USUE and holds an MFA in drawing & painting from USU. He has taught drawing and painting courses at USUE for twelve years. While the human figure has been a longtime subject of his work, his latest series of paintings is meant to pay tribute to the mining, railroad and energy industries set against the Southeastern Utah landscape.

Huntzinger holds a BFA in photography from the University of Minnesota Duluth and is an adjunct professor in the art department. He is also the director of the Western Mining and Railroad Museum in Helper and has been working variations and intricacies of light and dark in his photography for 20 years. Many of his photographs show an affection for the scenes and structures in his Helper surroundings.

Christopher Kanyusik is assistant professor of art (sculpture & ceramics). He earned his BFA in ceramics from the University of Montana, his post-baccalaureate certificate in sculpture from Brandeis University, his MFA in ceramic sculpture from The Rochester Institute of Technology, and an MFA in sculpture from at the Academy of Art University. 

Originally from Minnesota, Kanyusik taught three-dimensional art and ceramics in the Bay Area many years before coming to USU Eastern. His love of the human figure is often reflected in his clay and cast sculpture. His mixed-media sculpture often involves architectural or structural components of the materials and focuses on the visual depiction of bending, folding, draping, hanging and rolling.

Gallery East is located in the Central Instruction Building and its exhibits are free and open to the public during the academic year from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed weekends and holidays. The gallery observes Covid-19 precautions, including face coverings and a limit of 10 people in the gallery at one time. The reception for this exhibit will be “by invitation only.”

 Contact Noel Carmack, at 435-613-5241 or email [email protected] for any questions about the exhibit.