Husband and wife artists show art and process at Pierce College, Fort Steilacoom Gallery

Jenny Roholt sets off her figure drawings against colorful backdrops. Photo courtesy of David Roholt

The husband and wife duo of artists David and Jenny Roholt have an exhibit of their art on display at the art gallery at Pierce College, Ft. Steilacoom. This is the couple’s first time sharing a complete gallery for their work.

Called “In the Works,” the show has a sampling of the work of both artists. A unique feature of this show, however, is the “sketch wall,” a whole wall of the gallery that is covered with sketches and preliminary drawings that the artists did as a means to keep their skills sharp and as preparation for finished works.

“The collected sketches,” said the artists, “reflect various life drawing sessions, drawings from photographs, and the imagination. The artists wanted to highlight the often-unseen process associated with making more resolved works of art. You will note that the many sketches selected are preliminary thumbnails or “drawing brainstorms” for some of the completed works that hang in this show.

“Most of the time artist’s sketch books when completed collect dust and never see the light of day. The general public rarely has a chance to see such works, so it was a desire of Dave and Jenny to share with the public viewer, as well as students, some of the behind the scene sketches that keep an artist going. Sometimes when life gets busy, it is the few quick moments in the sketch book that keeps one feeling like an artist. For aspiring and professional artists alike, a sketchbook is a life line to getting better at the act of making art.”

Detail of the “sketch wall,” which shows pages from the artists’ sketchbooks. Photo courtesy of David Roholt

Jenny Roholt’s most eye-catching compositions are large, colorized drawings done from live, nude models. These are set against colorful, patterned backdrops to create a striking visual effect. The classical human form is thus isolated from normal surroundings and placed in a context that draws focus to the body itself. The colorful, repeated designs of the back drop serve as a contrast, which further highlights the human figure. The background designs also lend an appealing prettiness to the pictures.

David Roholt is an accomplished painter. I still have vivid memories of a series of lush, thickly painted landscape scenes that he did a number of years ago. Lately, he has been giving free reign to his passion for fly fishing. That subject is featured in at least one of the paintings in the show. There are also some of a series of watery paintings on paper: a series of characters that are in the act of climbing a towering ice cream cone consisting of an impossible stack of scoops of ice cream – each scoop is a different color and flavor.

In addition to making art, Jenny Roholt teaches art in community college environments, including Tacoma Community College, Brigham Young University, Idaho Online and Pierce College, Puyallup. She has been drawing all her life, learning first from her mother who made art an integral part of her upbringing. Before teaching, Jenny Roholt worked for more than 20 years as a graphic designer and illustrator. She received an MA in illustration from Syracuse University and a BFA in graphic design from the University of Utah.

A native of Salt Lake City, David Roholt lived in Japan for two years as a missionary prior to studying at Utah State University, earning a BFA in painting and later an MFA in painting from Colorado State University. He now teaches art at Pierce College, Fort Steilacoom.

“In the Works” runs through April 20.

The Pierce College Gallery has had some great shows through the years. Getting there is sometimes a challenge, but is usually worth it. The Gallery is in a foyer on the second floor of the Olympic Building. For those of us without a Pierce College parking sticker, parking is always a bit of a problem. Visitor parking spots are not clearly marked. I generally just park somewhere and hope that I miss notice of the security patrols. There have also been a couple of occasions when I have gone to the Gallery (which is something of a minor trek from the parking lot) only to find that it is closed off, despite that I was there during posted open hours. I would therefore advise checking ahead with David Roholt, who is the gallery director, before a visit. He is diligent in seeing to the enjoyment of gallery visitors. He can be reached at (253) 964-6718 or Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

For information on the gallery itself, visit (As of this writing, however, the gallery website looks like it has not been updated.)

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