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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Student painter ‘faces’ the art

    Oftentimes students will wonder if the majors they choose reflect anything they are really interested in or wish to pursue. Studio art senior Ashley Rice does not seem to have that problem.

    “”Art must be a part of my life,”” Rice said. “”Forever.””

    Rice, who comes from no background of artistic stature, always had an artsy flair but, until her teenage years, lacked the drive to pursue it as a career.

    “”The light went on the summer between my junior and senior year in high school,”” Rice said.

    That summer Rice attended the Maryland Institute of Art, where a professor helped her realize her artistic talent.

    “”He made me comfortable and made me think that yes, I can be an artist on a college level and yes, I can do it,”” Rice said. “”So that’s how it started, officially.””

    From there the Phoenix native applied to the UA art program, where she received a scholarship and a $5,000 tuition waiver.

    During her time as a student Rice has also had internships at the Arizona State Museum, the Tucson Museum of Art and Graficas, a gallery in the Tucson foothills.

    Although she knows that after graduation in May she wants to attend graduate school to study either studio art, art history or museum studies, Rice’s attention remains in the present.

    “”Right now I’m really focusing on my art,”” Rice said. “”I’m using school time to push myself to produce.””

    Her production has been particularly important for the past year as she has been preparing herself for her senior opening, which takes place tonight.

    “”My work deals with themes of limitation, delineation of reality and the human experience of their perceived and defined truth,”” Rice wrote in an assignment evaluating herself as an artist for a career assessment class.

    Many artists are inspired by experiences or locations and then find the necessary materials to pursue their ideas. Rice too will follow that method in her own creations; however, she also finds inspiration from the materials themselves and then evolves ideas around them.

    “”A friend of mine was just telling me I’m a very material girl,”” Rice confessed. “”Not in the Madonna kind of way.””

    It is obvious that Rice’s works and the ideas behind them are original, however, even the best gain inspiration from other artists, just as Rice does.

    “”My favorite artist right now is Robert Rauschenberg because he does mixed media, which is what I’m into,”” Rice said. “”I identify with him … a lot.””

    While talking about one of the pieces that will appear in tonight’s show, Rice shared profoundly thought-out philosophies to accompany her intricately created work.

    She used black acrylic paint to create a silhouette of her face on Plexiglas and then arranged different colored string chaotically on the other side of the frame.

    “”This is about how I feel inside my head sometimes and trying to organize it,”” Rice said. “”It kind of makes you crazy if you keep thinking about and internalizing it.””

    This particular work is not the only one in which Rice focuses on faces; a lot of her work illustrates this subject.

    “”I think faces and eyes tell you a lot about a person or feeling, and they are all unique,”” Rice said. “”To focus on a face, it is more emotional to me. I think it is a vulnerability thing too, to do something so close up, that makes it vulnerable.””

    Rice’s opening, “”Inside Out: Defining Reality”” will be held tonight from 5 to 7 in the Kachina Lounge and Gallery in the Student Union Memorial Center.

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