UI Prichard Art Gallery Fish Exhibit Mixes Art with Science

Thursday, February 13 2014

MOSCOW, Idaho – Bring the wild to life indoors, the University of Idaho’s Prichard Art Gallery will feature the exhibit “38 Minus: The Idaho Fish Project.” The exhibit will run Wednesday, Feb. 19 through Sunday, April 6, with a reception held on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 5:30 p.m. at the Prichard Art Gallery. The reception is co-hosted by the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival and the Moscow Chamber of Commerce.

“38 Minus: The Idaho Fish Project” features 38 different Idaho native species of fish cast in handmade paper relief sculptures. To create the exhibit, artist Lonnie Hutson collaborated with UI fish and wildlife professor Michael Quist to help identify and collect the native Idaho fish species.

“Just watching how the whole ecosystems on the rivers over 30 years have changed, I got fascinated with how fish play into that change,” said Hutson.

Hutson earned a bachelor’s degree in art and architecture from the University of Washington and a Master’s of Fine Arts degree from the University of Idaho. While studying at the University of Washington, an art professor told Hutson to go live life for a while to inspire his artwork. After graduating from the University of Washington, he worked as a river guide in the western United States.

“38 Minus” has grown out of my time spent on rivers,” said Hutson.”Over the years, I have noted changes in Idaho rivers ¬— not the annual spring floods that erase camps or create new rapids, but rather invasions like yellow star-thistle. These changes in Idaho became apparent to me when I began working in Alaska, where salmon runs are healthy, animals and birds are abundant and river canyons are still remote and wild.”

Over three years, Hutson and Quist, with the help of outside agencies, tracked down even the most elusive of Idaho’s native fish. As each was found, Hutson captured them – by molding their forms into handcrafted paper.

Quist was excited about the educational opportunities of the project and involved friends and colleagues from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Nez Perce Tribe, Idaho State University, College of Idaho and other groups – as well as his students and Hutson – in the search.

“A lot of what I do as an educator is to get people excited about natural systems, such as fish,” said Quist. “I am interested in this exhibit because of the educational component of marrying science with art.”

The exhibit displays not only the beauty of Idaho’s native fish, but also draws attention to the importance of wild species and river systems. By looking at one of Hutson’s delicate, detailed casts, people can observe the fishes’ characteristics and understand how they live – without encountering a slippery, live fish.

“The only way we’re really going to deal with the issues facing society is if we bring in different perspectives and ways of looking at the issues,” said Roger Rowley, Prichard Art Gallery director.

For visiting K-12 school groups, Prichard docents will pair with Quist, Christine Moffitt and UI fish and wildlife students to guide visitors through the exhibit, teaching about Hutson’s papermaking, as well as fish biology.

This opening is a collaboration and part of the community outreach of the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. The reception is sponsored by the Moscow Chamber of Commerce. The Idaho Commission of the Arts, the American Fisheries Society- Western and Idaho Chapters, and University of Idaho Advancement sponsors the exhibit. The exhibit will tour throughout Idaho as part of the University of Idaho’s Inspiring Futures Campaign and 125th Anniversary Celebration.

The Prichard Art Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.: and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Gallery is closed Monday. The gallery, an outreach facility of the University of Idaho, is located at 414/416 S. Main St. on the corner of Fifth Street and Main Street in downtown Moscow. Admission is free. Additional Information is available at www.uidaho.edu/caa/galleries/prichardartgallery.

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit www.uidaho.edu.