Trent Alvey uses science and curiosity to create
by Rachel Terran (’18)
The first 12 summers of Trent Alvey’s (’87) life were spent in the La Sal National Forest, where she found a desire and confidence to choose wild places for adventure. Her intrigue about science and earth systems that developed in the mountains has influenced her work as a mixed-media artist. Inspired by curiosity, Trent’s art, a form of self-inquiry, gives her a vehicle to explore her interests. Trent studied art and communication at Westminster and received the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award.
Trent usually works on her various art projects while simultaneously traveling the world. Her husband, Dennis Sizemore, is the founding director of Round River Conservation Studies, an organization that provides study-abroad opportunities for Westminster students: they gather scientific information that assists in conservation efforts. As a board member, Trent accompanies Dennis as they travel to Africa, Canada, Central and South America, Australia, and Asia. Trent is able to examine cultural and environmental similarities and differences while traveling to these places. Art gives her an outlet to express her experiences, learn, and develop ideas she wants to share.
The emerging physicist
“A lot of my work is about how everything we see and hear is frequency. My favorite themes are science-based. I’m not a scientist, but I’m coming back in my next lifetime as a physicist. I am fascinated with the science of emergent phenomenon and how complex systems self-regulate. It’s interesting to watch humanity as an emergent system and see how as a society we make choices and what kind of choices we make.”
Creativity and mountain gorillas
“On a trip in 2011 to Uganda, I got a real good look at that part of the world and how much people are suffering. The thing I came back realizing is that creativity is not just creating some decorative artwork: creativity is part of our survival. It is as important as eating and sleeping. It was on this trip that I got to see some of the few remaining mountain gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.”
When the muse visits
“Right before I totally wake up in the morning, I get these insights. I write them down in a notebook; then I have to act on them or allow them to evaporate.”
“In my early 30s I lived across the street from Westminster in an arts-and-crafts bungalow. I worked at the college as a graphic designer and went to school at the same time. I had wonderful years at Westminster—great people. I studied with Don Doxey and Ray Ownbey in the Art and Communication departments.”
Exhibit at National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, DC
“I completed an assemblage piece called Toaster Worship in the 90’s. It was totally playful but did speak to women’s domestic role. It featured an arc of red neon between two vintage toasters, a stack of shellacked Wonder Bread, and a stereotypic rubber housewife toy from the 50s standing on top of the toast and turning at three rpm’s. It is now in the permanent collection of the Utah Museum of Fine Art.”
Trent Alvey (′87)
On your art-making playlist: Eric Satie
Biggest aspiration: To embrace uncertainty
Favorite animal to incorporate in works: Elephant
One word to describe your art space: Messy
Dream place to exhibit: The Tate Modern in London
Most admired artists: Marina Abramović, El Anatsui, Louise Bourgeois, Olafur Eliasson, and Mona Hatoum
About the Westminster Review
The Westminster Review is Westminster College’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.