SPOKANE, Wash. – The Jundt Art Museum at Gonzaga University will feature new large-scale, colorful paintings by local painters Melissa Lang and Stephen Rue. The exhibit titled, “Lang and Rue: Verses” opens Sept. 6 in the Jundt Galleries and runs through Dec. 10.
Both Lang and Rue use an exaggerated scale and vibrant colors, but their methods and sensibilities differ. Fascinated with religion, Rue paints from biblical sources but adds a contemporary twist. Lang, whose subjects are equally spirited, turns to nature and its raw power for inspiration. Lang’s work has been described as fresh and spontaneous and, although he chooses his subjects intuitively, Rue’s painting is cerebral and controlled. Both artists describe their visions with grand gestures.
Lang earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Eastern Washington University and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of New Orleans. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Artist Trust Grant for Artist Projects (GAP) and a Louisiana Education Quality Support Fund (LEQSF) Fellowship. Lang has an extensive exhibition record and experience as a teacher and visiting artist. Drawing from images of organic forms, insects, and rock formations, she improvises in front of the canvas in active and direct ways in order to “lose herself in the work.” Her paintings and drawings are in private and corporate collections throughout the United States and Japan.
Rue earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Pacific Lutheran University and a Master of Fine Arts from Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
“I’ve always been fascinated by religion. In my paintings friends, family and fellow artists play characters in religious scenes, drawn from my background in Christianity,” Rue says. “These myths (just few among thousands around the world) express our collective experience as humans. Basic human truths can be found in these stories and images, and they are tangible ways we can speak of those ideas that are intangible.” Apart from what they depict, Rue’s lush painting surfaces and expressive brushwork take on lives of their own.
A free public reception for the artists will be held on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 6 p.m. followed by a free public lecture at 7:30 p.m. with Melissa Lange and Stephen Rue in the Jundt Auditorium. Seating is limited.
The museum’s exhibitions are free and open to the public from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and noon- 4 p.m. on Saturdays; the museum is closed Sundays and school holidays. For more information, please contact Karen Kaiser, assistant curator for education, at (509) 313-6613 or via e-mail.