Artist of the Week: Howard Clark Scholarship Recipients


By Oakley Burt, Arts Editor


Each spring semester, students graduating in the Department of Art & Art History with an emphasis in Painting and Drawing are considered by faculty for the Howard Clark Scholarship. This scholarship gives recipients funding to purchase materials and create a new piece of artwork to be displayed in the department’s Alvin Gittins Gallery. This year’s Howard Clark Scholarship recipients are Lucy Le Bohec, Alexis Rausch and Alyssa Hood.

The Oxford Dictionary defines art as, “The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination … producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” The artwork of Howard Clark Scholarship recipients Le Bohec and Rausch is just that, an integration of creative expression and personal experience. Le Bohec said, “I draw very directly from my experiences to make art, so in a lot of ways my experiences are the most basic part of my art. My background as a first-generation immigrant has affected the way I see myself and others in ways that come through strongly in my art.”

Rausch looks back on her childhood, her health and the body as the inspiration behind most of her artwork. Rausch said, “A lot of wild things have happened in my childhood. Broken nose three times, heart attack at 21 — you name it. My dad’s a recent double amputee, and the deterioration of the body, as well as the deterioration of memory, has always been fascinating to me.”

Rausch knew from a young age that she wanted to be an artist. Her mom and sister are both actresses and Rausch felt she needed to pursue her own artistic medium. Rausch said, “There wasn’t ever pressure to be a doctor or lawyer in our house, there wasn’t really pressure to go to college either.” Rauch and her sister are the first people in their family to attend college and she appreciates the value of being able to go.

Le Bohec originally came to the University of Utah to study medicine and wanted to become a doctor. However, she quickly realized it wasn’t for her. She felt the need to pursue her passion for art instead. Le Bohec said, “I wanted to be self-directed and to just do what I enjoyed. In a way, it was a self-indulgent choice.”

Her self-indulgent choice led her to the Painting and Drawing program at the U, where her classes and professors helped her grow as an artist. Le Bohec said, “Knowing what I want to say and starting to be able to say it are the most important things I have learned during my studies.” She also credits the program’s focus on painting and drawing life portraits of people as a way to let go of correctness and perfection in her art and just enjoy how relaxed painting and drawing can be.

Rausch was also able to let go of the idea of perfection in her art here at the U. “I’ve made a lot of bad art while I’ve been in school, and I’ve made a few pieces that I think are good too. I think art school has made me less attached to what I produce, which has given me the ability to keep pushing forward to make more work as I develop my voice.”

For this exhibition, Le Bohec used her relationships with others as her inspiration for her paintings. “I often feel that narratives about relationships that exist in mainstream culture do not reflect my own experiences with relationships of any kind.”

Rausch’s’ paintings are based on sketches she did of other chronically ill patients during her nine-month hospital stay following her heart attack in 2016. “When you live in a hospital or another medical facility long-term, the privacy and identity of each patient is taken very, very seriously so, all of the sketches were made using stray golf pencils of only people’s unidentifiable body parts.” Rausch later found these depictions to be far more intimate than facial portraits since her experience. The body acts as the landscape for all the things that happen to you. Rausch said, “When you are ill or injured this is only amplified, I thought I owed a small love letter to the people who gave me sanity under strange circumstances through a really difficult time of my life.”

The artwork of Le Bohec, Rausch and Hood will be featured at the Howard Clark Scholarship Exhibition. The exhibition runs from Aug. 19-30, 2019, in the Alvin Gittins Gallery at the U.

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