Artists use city life as inspiration
Posted Feb. 13, 2009
Steven Bier
Artist Daina Higgins shares a light moment with President Stephen Morgan and Dion Johnson, director of galleries. Associate Professor of Art Keith Lord picks up on the conversation. Higgins traveled from New York to take part in a reception for her and Liat Yossifor, a painter from Los Angeles. The exhibition, “To Here Knows When,” was curated and installed by Johnson.

Lauryl Bakke
Staff Writer

A mix of east coast and west coast art, spray paint and oil paint can be seen on display at “To Here Knows When,” an art exhibit in the Harris Art Gallery, located between the Wilson Library and the Landis Academic Center.

The exhibition includes the work of Daina Higgins and Liat Yossifor, each with their own unique form of art.

Higgins is an artist from New York, whose influence can be seen in her work through paintings of the city’s streets, one of her main influences.

“The city and urban areas are some of my inspiration, aspects of the city and the suburbs of New York,” Higgins said.

She said that her favorite part of the city is to get inspiration from changes in the city. Right now she is exploring Queens.

Some of Higgins paintings in the exhibition draw on her history as a graffiti artist, through her detailed and unique take on the city using black and white spray-paint.

“They look like photographs rather than a painting, the details and color and shading bring the pictures to life,” senior political science major Paul Bennett said.

He said he was impressed with the exhibit and its visual aspects.

“It was a natural choice to use it, I love how it looks, its focuses on the light,” Higgins said.

On the other side of the city spectrum is Los Angeles artist, Yossifor, whose distinctive use of oil paint deals with minimalism and surface, giving character to the images she paints.

“You can’t just glance at the paintings, you have to look inside to see exactly what it is. You have to get the angle of it and that makes the paintings so interesting,” junior psychology major Kaitlin Eckert said.

Yossifor uses hard brushes, knives and even the back of brushes to get the unique texture and shape of her paintings. She said the black on black style of painting and hints of color in her artwork help the eye move around the painting.

“I’ve been working a lot with the idea of monuments, the figures in the paintings are made to look like statues” Yossifor said.

She is using these pieces as studies for larger scale paintings of the same technique.

With the style of painting Yossifor uses, the viewer is able to see something different from every angle of the painting, allowing them to go into the depths of the painting discovering more about it the longer they view it.

The “To Here Knows When” art exhibition runs through March 13 in the Harris Art Gallery.

The gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m to 4 p.m., and by appointment.

Lauryl Bakke can be reached at

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