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“Consciously Breathing” Exhibit Explores Air, Breath, and Life

10/15/2020

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Kelie Hess working on a painting with a brush.
Kelie Hess, visual artist, works on one of her paintings.

The Sorenson Center’s Lyndsley Wilkerson Gallery is proud to host an exhibit of the visual art of Kelie Hess, an artist who creates abstract, rhythmic expansions of color that suggest elements of nature.

“I am captivated by the powerful beauty and immensity of sea and sky,” says Hess. “I create soft, atmospheric images interrupted by vibrant bursts of color to imitate the variances and influence of light in both nature and the human spirit. Through my work, I hope to remind viewers that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves, and that our place in the universe is meaningful.” 

Hess was born with a rare genetic disorder and uses a power wheelchair to assist her daily mobility. As a teenager, she also developed respiratory complications and now requires the use of a ventilator to support her lungs and respiratory system. 

Consciously Breathing is an exploration of air, breath, and life, driven by Hess’s own experiences and hopes.

“I spend a lot of time thinking about the air we breathe,” she says. “I think about the effort required for our lungs to make the exchange from air to oxygen to carbon dioxide. With a dangerous virus riding on the wind, these thoughts have occupied my mind even more than usual lately. We breathe in. We breathe out. We keep living. But I don't just want to be alive. I want to live. I want to consciously breathe with purpose. I want to live with intention and make every breath count.”

Hess now works at the Center for Employment and Inclusion in Salt Lake City, which is part of USU's Center for Persons with Disabilities (CPD). The CPD and the Sorenson Legacy Foundation Center for Clinical Excellence are both housed in the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services.

The Wilkerson Gallery, located on the first floor of the Sorenson Center, is open 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every weekday. Consciously Breathing will be available for viewing through October 30th.