Student Union Building
PO Box 444264
Moscow, ID 83844-4264
1031 N. Academic Way,
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
Department of Adult, Career & Technology Education
James Pullen, a Professional Technical and Art Education (PTTE) student won the Best in Show award for the University of Idaho Juried Undergraduate Art Show, February 11-15. James also works as a Shop Assistant in the College of Art and Architecture Wood Shop and has a background in outdoor recreation through the Outward Bound Wilderness School.
The works that James selected for the juried show, titled Infrastructure (2007) and Tools (2007) are both an artistic exploration of his work as a PTTE student: his interest in traditional tools and techniques in the trades, and a fascination with utility. “I am a tinkerer, a hands-on worker, and a creator by nature, and find a powerful aesthetic in the utility of tools,” James said.
Pullen's work references the utilitarian and addresses our modern understanding of energy and material use, while at the same time eschewing immediate identification of an object for a particular use.
The initial concept for his sculpture was to combine objects that evoke both the old and the new, in the creation of artifacts that embody a sense of timelessness, familiarity and utility while at the same time being unusual and fantastical. “In seeking out materials, I felt that tools and hardware when combined and altered would allow for a palpable sense of the familiar and utilitarian, yet offer endless possibilities in the creation of objects of undefined purpose,” James said.
As he acquired objects for his sculpture: an old iron, a tire pump, a magneto-powered bike light, he realized there was a deeper relationship to explore in these objects, that of their relationship with the energy that powered them as well as the origin of that energy. “It struck me that in this day and age, the relationship between the tools that drive society, and the power that these devices use, in turn bears exploration,” said James. “We live in a climate of continued rampant industrialization, yet at the same time we recognize that the industry and production systems of our past are unsustainable, inefficient, and must be addressed to meet our modern understanding of the impact we have on the world around us.”
James views Professional Technical Education and Art Education as a way to blend the hands-on, skills-based teaching/learning techniques of outdoor education with a more traditional classroom environment.
The College of Art & Architecture Undergraduate Juried Exhibition is an annual exhibition hosted by Ridenbaugh Hall Galleries open to all enrolled majors on campus. This year’s exhibition was juried by Ray Esparsen, Professor at Lewis & Clark State College, and Kathleen Burns, Art Director, Moscow Arts Commission.
“Adjudicating an exhibit such as this one is partly subjective,” said University of Idaho Art Collections Manager, Julie Galloway. “It reflects the tastes of the jurors, their experience and vision. The jurors consider the level of the student, the quality of the craft, innovation, and conceptual virtuosity. Also considered is competitiveness of the work in the broadest sense, as the jurors view the work against its counterparts at other universities and schools of art. The Best of Show award takes into consideration how the artwork would compete against the best of our peer institutions.” The prize for Best of Show is a $50 gift certificate to Michaels, a national arts and crafts store.