RMC art department hosts Senior Art Show at Ryniker-Morrison Gallery, article by Photographer Nicolas Cordero

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Pictured, from the left: Rhett Moak, Elyssa Leininger, Mark Moak, James Baken, Abigail Rausch, and Ashley Kustka. These are the three senior art majors graduating this year and have their art displayed at the Ryniker-Morrison Gallery. Photo by Nicolas Cordero.

Pictured, from the left: Rhett Moak, Elyssa Leininger, Mark Moak, James Baken, Abigail Rausch, and Ashley
Kustka. These are the three senior art majors graduating this year and have their art displayed at the Ryniker-Morrison Gallery. Photo by Nicolas Cordero.

The Rocky Mountain College art department is hosting its “Senior Show” from April 13th to May 6th.

Rocky Mountain College’s senior art majors will be displaying their artwork at the Ryniker-Morrison Gallery. The gallery is located in Tech Hall and is open for display Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

“Wear your invisible crown” included in a display by Ashley Kustka at the Senior art Show. Photo by Nicolas Cordero.

“Wear your invisible crown” included in a display by Ashley Kustka at
the Senior art Show. Photo by Nicolas Cordero.

The senior artists who are presenting their work in the gallery include Ashley Kustka, Abigail Rausch, and Elyssa Leininger. The artwork presented by these three artists is remarkable, creative, and deserves recognition.

“Every year we feature the graduating seniors and their works, so every year is very different,” said Sally McIntosh, director of Ryniker-Morrison Gallery. “With differing degrees and aspirations after graduation, the three seniors’ work this year couldn’t be more diverse.”

The different artistic styles are evident in each of the student’s work. The artists used different mediums to create art in distinct surfaces.

Elyssa Leininger will graduate with degrees in both Biology and Art. Leininger enjoys sculpting, painting, drawing, and playing piano. Leininger’s work is extremely innovative and compelling. She paints traditional western style art featuring wildlife, nature, and landscapes. Leininger paints her work on animal skulls and bones as well as canvas.

One of the Senior Art Show rooms that display varies type of art pieces. Photo by Nicolas Cordero.

One of the Senior Art Show rooms that display varies type of art pieces. Photo by Nicolas Cordero.

“I make art because my heart and soul desire to create, and to portray my thoughts, feelings, emotions, and experiences.” Leininger said. “I view the world as sacred and beautiful. I have a deep respect and spiritual connection to the animals and wildlife that inhabit the American West.”

Leininger’s work contains traditional western art themes combined with a baroque style with influences from 17th century Europe.

“I first started painting on animal skulls and bones because there is something so raw and rustic about them that isclassically Western” Leining said. “While studying abroad in Italy, I was really inspired to paint on bones after visiting the Capuchin Monk bone crypts in Rome, as well as seeing many bone relics honoring and memorializing the lives of saints and other significant people.”

Leininger captures the beauty of local western wildlife with a combination of traditional and contemporary painting techniques.

“I respect the wildlife and animals that inhabit Montana as if they were saints, and I wish to memorialize their lives and essentially allow them to live on through my paintings and remain as beautiful as they once were,” Leininger said.

Elyssa Leininger talks to visitors about her pieces that are displayed in one of the Senior Art Show rooms. Photo by Nicolas Cordero.

Elyssa Leininger talks to visitors about her pieces that are displayed in
one of the Senior Art Show rooms. Photo by Nicolas Cordero.

Ashley Kustka is an art education and reading major. Kustka’s work emphasises different vibrant color schemes and fabrics. She’s heavily involved in the arts and is an intern for the Ryniker-Morrison Gallery. Kustka uses non-traditional mediums in many of her pieces.

“The materials inspire me. I want to create stuff from whatever I can find,” Kustka said.

Kustka uses assemblage techniques to create her work. “I enjoy whatever happens during the moment and I embrace the process,” she said.

Abigail Rausch’s work is also being presented in the gallery. Rausch’s work presents various motifs along with many classical elements. Rausch’s work presents three-dimensional mixed media and acrylic presentations that feature nature as well as animals.

The closing reception for the graduating seniors’ work is scheduled for Saturday, May 6, from 4 to 6 p.m. and is open to the public.

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