The Word is Art

DATE: Friday, November 3, 2023

END DATE: Friday, December 29, 2023

LOCATION: Taber Art Gallery, HCC Library, Donahue 2nd floor


Free calligraphy workshop Nov. 8, 11 a.m.

Artist Ryan Patience Rushing sketches out a mural on a wall inside the Taber Art Gallery at HCC.

The Taber Art Gallery at Holyoke Community College is pleased to present "Things Aren't What They Seem," an exhibition of paintings and drawings by Holyoke artist Ryan Patience Rushing, Nov. 3 through Dec. 29.   

An opening reception was held in the gallery Nov. 3 from 6-8 p.m. as well as a broad line calligraphy workshop Wed., Nov. 8, from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Rushing is a multidisciplinary artist and designer. Engagement with letterforms is the bedrock of her practice, and a point from which she examines physics, philosophy, and psychology. A philomath (lover of learning) and amateur cosmologist, Rushing's interests span concepts such as simulation theory, string theory, optimistic nihilism, fallacies, and semiotics. The nature of our world and how we understand it are at the core of her work.

"I'm really drawn to written communication," said Rushing. "That's why I'm drawn to lettering and letters in any form. I really like to push the readability as much as possible, so you have to work at it a little bit."

In preparation for her show this week, Rushing was sketching out a mural on one of the walls of the gallery, where she talked about her work.

"I think a lot about things like simulation theory and the big universe that we live in and how there's a whole lot more to the world than what we can see," she said. "I like the dichotomy of using lettering to directly communicate things that are nebulous concepts. And then, hopefully, while you're reading, your brain is doing work to question how things aren't what they seem."

Rushing's career spans 15 years of experience in graphic design, marketing, branding, UX design, and front-end website development. She received her bachelor's degree in fine arts  from Louisiana Tech University in 2009.

In 2019, her branding work for a Dallas city council candidate was hailed as a "master class in visual political communication" by D Magazine. She is also a sought-after speaker in design, development, and accessibility, having shared her insights with prominent organizations such as Shopify UX, CreativeMornings, Texas Woman's University, and the National Student Show and Conference.

Rushing will provide a free calligraphy workshop in the gallery on Wed., Nov. 8, beginning at 11 a.m., where she will demonstrate using Crayola broad tip markers.

"I believe in accessible art, and how art should not be just for the rich and the elite," Rushing said. "Art should be for everyone. You can use Crayola broad tip markers to do calligraphy and drawing. You can use them to do watercolor. They're available everywhere, and they're relatively inexpensive, and you can make some really beautiful pieces of art."  

The workshop is open to the public, but advance registration is requested.

The Taber Art Gallery, located of the lobby of the HCC Library on the second floor of the HCC Donahue Building, is free and open to the public Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. during regular school sessions.

PHOTOS: Ryan Patience Rushing prepares her exhibition, "Things Aren't What They Seem," in the Taber Art Gallery at HCC.