Fellow’s art exhibit showcases ‘process’

Jenna “Citrus” Rueger skittered through the open rooms of the McCutchan Art Center/Pace Gallery, her colored socks silent against the cold ground.

It was noon of the day before the opening of her Efroymson Bridge Year Fellowship Exhibit, and Rueger still had preparations to finalize before the year’s’ worth of her work went on display. She turned her head to examine the gallery, where she was surrounded by about 130 pieces of her art.

“I’ve had two small shows before,” Rueger said, “but this compared to those? It’s awe-inspiring and amazing.”

As an Efroymson Bridge Year Fellow, Rueger has worked for a year as a student perfecting her portfolio to apply to graduate school, culminating in the exhibit running from Dec. 7 to Jan. 16.

“The theme is ‘process,’” Rueger said. “There’s an evolution in my work from traditional art-like painting to more digital art.”

One of the ways the theme of ‘process’ manifested was in her “hand-painting series.”

“I took pictures of paint dripping over body parts,” she said. “Then I saw that the paint was dripping on the cardboard below, and that was equally as neat as the photography. I said, ‘Wait, that’s beautiful,’ and used those drips as a painting.”

On the night of her reception, Rueger will have 11 live models wearing patterns she designed.

“When I tried to sell my work before, it was hard with just originals and prints,” Rueger said. “So I decided to make things like clothing that people will actually buy.”

In addition to painting, photography, clothing and graphic design, Rueger said the exhibit will show clips of her going through the steps of her art process.

“I hope people leave feeling inspired to make art or share a creative impact,” she said. “I put a lot of work—a whole year—into this.”

Jack Ashley, a university alum and assistant to the gallery director, said it’s been “intriguing” to watch Rueger’s growth as an artist. He’s known her for five years.

“It’s really exciting to see students develop into substantial artists,” he said. “Her work has culminated with really attractive pieces.”

He said her style is unique and reflects her personality.

“She’s a free spirit, but there’s also a depth in her work,” Ashley said. “Lots of artists do the photos where there’s paint on the hand but she takes it further.”

Ashley said he enjoys all of Rueger’s pieces, and he’s appreciated seeing her work develop.

“It’s always fun watching artists put shows together,” he said. “You see them come through little pieces of their art.”