A glimpse into Gallery II

From staff reports

Gallery II, a small studio in the Fine Arts building, will host guest artist Laura Ahola-Young through the end of February.

“This is my most recent series of work,” said Ahola-Young, assistant professor of painting and drawing at Idaho State University. “This is the first time I am showing these pieces.”

Her work focuses on land and how it is affected by human activity.

“A lot of my work is about my experience growing up in a mining family, and knowing what mining does to the landscape,” Ahola-Young said.

Ahola-Young said she suffers from chronic migraines, and through some research she found out about “prodromes,” which are signals your body gives that a headache is coming on. She brings this idea of signals into her work.

“There are signals that show global warming is happening and we ignore them,” she said. “It is this behavior of ignoring signs that I try to capture in my work.”

Ahola-Young also studies swarming behavior, which is another type of signaling found in insects and birds.

“I find it fascinating,” she said. “The fact that the swarming patterns can create artificial intelligence that they can create messages is amazing.”

Ahola-Young’s work also focuses on lighting and the landscape and how they interact.

“I lived in Oregon for a while, so a lot of my work was grey,” she said. “So when I moved to Idaho, my work brightened up.”

Ahola-Young’s work has been brought into the fine arts building to help recreate Gallery II.

“Gallery II is a way to get beautiful, contemporary art into the fine arts building,” said Noelle Pflanz, a second-year graduate student teaching an introductory course to printmaking.

In the past, Gallery II has been limited to guest artists. However, this year the fine arts staff is trying to bring in the work of more graduate students and professors in addition to the guest artists.

“There’s not really a good gallery space downtown, so we try to have a gallery to showcase WSU work,” Pflanz said.

Laura Ahola-Young’s show, “Prodromes,” will be on display through Feb. 26. Gallery II is located on the fifth floor of the fine arts building, open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., and 1-5 p.m. Admission is free.

Reporting by Jennifer Ladwig