Two artists discuss corporate America and digital technology with '2 Conversations'

With colors to grab you, structures to touch and symbolism to question, the exhibit "2 Conversations" will surely strike up a discussion this October among students and local artists alike. 

Rachel Goodwin and Travis Rice, fine arts in drawing and painting graduate students, have come together to create a jaw dropping and eye opening art exhibit with in-your-face colors.

"2 Conversations" examines how two artists draw similar styles in their works, while at the same time use their own different personal life experience and cultural upbringing to guide their pieces. In the exhibit, Goodwin expresses the interest she has in consumer culture by visually commenting on its use of display, packaging and advertising tactics. Rice, on the other hand, explores the effect of digital technology on analog media through painting. 

Last year during their first year of graduate school, both professors and fellow students saw a similarity between the two artists' work, ultimately pushing them to design the exhibit together. 

"We just have this kind of innate nature for our work," Goodwin said. "It just fit together very nicely when we first came to graduate school a year and a half ago. People thought his work was mine and my work was his. It was just a nice conversation that was already kind of naturally happening. We wanted attention on that and not necessarily what our concepts were behind the work."

She explained how visitors may have a different perspective of their work at first, but this may change after spending some time in the exhibit. 

"In the gallery, we have the works that are kind of split, a piece of mine and a piece of his and they switch out," Goodwin said. "They're just kind of is an overarching tone throughout the piece. If you walked in, you would think it was just one person's work. So there's a bit of mystery and trickery we've done on our part."

Fiber arts senior Valerie Bullock agreed with the structure of the exhibit. If it wasn't as far from her house by the West campus, she would with no doubt check it out. 

"It's nice to have your peers acknowledge and give their feedback," Bullock said. "If the exhibit was either here in Tempe or in West, I would go."

She said she hopes to attend graduate school. If an exhibit is required for her to graduate, she wants to have to same appeal as Rice and Goodwin. 

"I would make it vibrant, attention grabbing and out there," Bullock said. 

Rice hopes that those who visit will see the symbolism in Goodwin's pieces where she exposes how companies convince us to buy their products. 

"We want people to leave with an overwhelming sort of experience," Rice said. "We are not shy about anything innate. We are not making anything understated, everything is completely overstated and purposely gaudy. They may come away exhilarated and a little overwhelmed. Maybe they will have a little insight into all those tricks that advertisements use to fool us into making us buy stuff."

In turn, Goodwin hope students see the effort and unique aspects of their exhibit. 

"Our work definitely pushes the boundaries of what painting is," Goodwin said. "We delve into untraditional forms of painting and design art."

Rice is proud of the work that they have pieced together since summer. He believes people have never seen anything like the work in their exhibit. 

"It will be without a doubt one of those visual shows that knocks people on their butt," Rice said. "There's just nothing else like the work we are doing. In the whole city of Phoenix. A city of 4 million people, lots of artists. It's an opportunity to see some really unique, well-conceived and well thought out work that will just knock people."

The exhibit opens on Thursday and will run until Oct. 24. An opening reception will take place on Oct. 16 from 6 to 9 p.m. 

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Reach the reporter at rsantist@asu.edu or follow @ryanerica18 on Twitter.

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