Art Gallery displays student work

The 2016 Student Art Show is underway at the Phebe Conley Art Gallery, displaying this semester’s best pieces done by students.

Chris Lopez, a gallery technician who was in charge of organizing the annual event said the show is not limited to just art and design majors but to all the students involved in the art department’s courses.

“It’s really to showcase the work from the various disciplines in the Art and Design Department,” Lopez said.

The different categories include: painting, drawing, photography, video animation, sculpture and ceramics. Two jurors are then chosen to become the judges of all the entries and select the best pieces for the show.

This year’s “Best in Show” was awarded to Audia Dixon for her oil on panel piece titled “Ponyland.” Lopez said the painting was a dark and distorted version of the popular cartoon “My Little Pony.” Dixon impressed judges by distorting the happy innocent cartoon into something much deeper and darker, he said.

“It stood out. It was dynamic and showed a high skill level,” Lopez said.

As the winner of “Best in Show,” Dixon’s piece will continue the tradition of becoming the cover of the upcoming art show’s postcard which is distributed throughout the campus and community.

This year’s art show was particularly different, said Lopez, because there were a number of pieces that spoke out about social issues.

“Nasty Women Make Art” by Kaitlynn Webster is a piece made of wood, stoneware and oxides. The piece reflects how Webster personally felt attacked by statements made by President-elect Donald Trump. The piece, which hangs on the wall, is a rectangle wooden board with a stone piece shaped like a woman’s torso in the center. The wooden piece has multiple phrases said by Trump attached while the torso reads: “Nobody respects woman more than I do, nobody”.

This year the jurors were two artists – Caleb Duarte, an artist from the Bay Area and Leslie Batty, a local painter. They selected about 60 pieces to showcase from 131 entries.

“It is work that should be set in a museum or gallery-type setting,” Lopez said.

At that point the challenge for Lopez was to curate the show by setting up the pieces in an effective and pleasing manner.

“It’s like trying to tell a story with different types of pieces,” Lopez said.

He also has the responsibility of organizing the opening reception.

“As stressful and as intense as it can be, it’s quite a rush. I really do enjoy it. It’s lots of fun,” Lopez said.

The opening reception, when everyone could see the artwork, was on Nov. 30, and the winners of the selected categories were announced. The categories vary for each discipline, but there is always a “Best in Show.”

“They don’t know who won yet, but it’s a fun [and] social event,” Lopez said.

Winners received gift cards from community donors who Lopez contacted prior to the event. This year, donors included Allard’s Art, Horn Photo and Clay Mix.

“It’s wonderful seeing students who are taking that chance, taking that risk to express how they feel about something visually,” Lopez said.

He said he invites anyone to attend the annual art shows the department hosts. The events are all free and usually provide food while providing a chance to view the creations made by students.

The 2016 Student Art Show runs until Dec. 9 in the Phebe Conley Art Gallery. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.