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Idaho Falls Arts Council hosting new exhibits in downtown galleries

Arts & Entertainment

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IDAHO FALLS — The Idaho Falls Arts Council recently welcomed two new exhibits to its downtown galleries in the Willard Arts Center.

“Manipulated: Digital Art” is a group exhibition currently on display in the Carr Gallery at the Willard and highlights some of the wide range of creative possibilities accessible with digital technology. This exhibit features a variety of Idaho artists. The other new exhibit in the Hall Gallery spotlights the art of Jacob Secrest, who works using traditional tools like acrylic, watercolor and charcoal.

“‘Manipulated’ actually grew out of one of the artists … approaching me over a year ago with his work,” Arts Council spokesperson Georgina Goodlander told “I really liked the idea of looking at Idaho artists who are working digitally. So I drew together a group of them.”

The exhibit features Brian Torvik, Helen Farrell and Betty Mallorca. These artists each apply digital technology to their artwork in very different ways.

“(Torvik) manipulates and Photoshops photographs that he takes to create wild and wonderful unrealistic scenes,” said Goodlander. “Helen Farrell does a whole variety of different kinds of artwork but she happened upon this digital manipulation by accident when she was editing a photo and really liked it. So she started playing around with different photo editing tools to see what they could do and create mostly abstract, colorful digital images that are beautiful to look at.”

“The third artist is Betty Mallorca and she digitally paints,” Goodlander continued. “She uses an app on the iPad and paints an image. She’s a traditional painter and she developed this new medium a few years ago and she loves how it allows her to take all her materials with her really easily.”

“Manipulated” also provides a snapshot of how art and the creative process are changing over time and helps to legitimize digital artwork as a valid channel for self-expression.

“These sort of things have maybe been going on for a really long time, but we as consumers of art maybe haven’t recognized them,” said Arts Council Executive Director Brandi Newton. “Hopefully we give a little bit of legitimacy that this is an art form, as well. I think these (methods of making art) have been around for a really long time. We just didn’t hang them in a museum.”

“I think it is interesting that all of these artists worked more traditionally and discovered digital media as a way to expand their work,” added Goodlander. “I think many artists are starting to explore digital. It’s definitely becoming a huge platform in how artists share their work, too.”

The exhibit in the Hall Gallery spotlights Jacob Secrest, a local artist who works with multiple different mediums and has painted or drawn a wide range of subject matter.

“I discovered him because he almost always gets at least one piece into our Juried Exhibition and I’ve just been fascinated by the diversity of his work,” Goodlander said. “He paints or sketches everything: people, landscapes, still lifes. And he has a really unique style. He hasn’t really been doing art for all that long and he has a style that’s really mature and incredible.”

The public is invited to view both exhibits at the Willard Arts Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. The exhibits run through March 14. Visit the Idaho Falls Arts Council website or find them on Facebook for more information.