Although he fell in love with art early in high school, Brent Yingling strayed away from it as a Pitt underclassman to pursue a more practical career in law.
It wasn’t until he started doing research with Delanie Jenkins, the head of the studio arts department, that he rediscovered his passion. Yingling helped Jenkins prep materials by cutting and moving thousands of pieces of tape for a collection of her work at the time that was centered around tape — and he was re-hooked.
“Within one month of working with Jenkins, I was back in the art department already,” Yingling said.
Since returning to his roots as an artist, Yingling, a senior studio arts major, has worked with and formed creative connections with numerous other professors in the studio arts department. He’s built a portfolio based on personal experience, cultural and political statements and installation art that pushes the boundaries of comfort.
In the senior art show last year, five faculty members selected Yingling as a junior to showcase six different pieces of his work in the show. For these works, he won three scholarships.
Several of Yingling’s installations have been on display in The Vault viewing space in the Frick Fine Arts Building, and he completed Pitt’s prestigious two-and-a-half-week artist residency, The Wyoming Field Study, in the Spring Creek Reserve this past summer. Today, he has a piece in Hillman Library’s AJ Schneider Reading Room: a tapestry called “45 seconds” that illustrates pig slaughters every 45 seconds worldwide.
“I try and set up spaces that allow people to come and have their own experience within the confines I set up,” Yingling said about his installations. His work is generally subversive and sends strong messages to the audience.
Yingling predominantly grew up surrounded by nature, which is displayed in many of his personal, reflective works where he uses found materials including wood, bones and rocks. As a rape survivor, Yingling frequently engages with the socio-political pieces, depicting his own experience with sexual assault.
“[The prints dealing with rape] are a visual representation of my experience and a way to get that conversation started,” Yingling explained.
Originally, Yingling planned to take a few years off and travel after Pitt. Now, he will stay in Pittsburgh for another year to focus on his art before going to graduate school — possibly at the University of Colorado Boulder — where he plans to receive his Master’s degree in interdisciplinary or sculpture art.
To look at Yingling’s work and read about it, click the first photo to open up a captioned slide show.