Student Art Rocks Chaffey College
By Vanessa Garcia and Melissa Myers
The 2006 Student Invitational Exhibition taking place at the Wignall museum is an exhibition displaying the work of 10 student artists. The artists include Christopher Adlay, Gabriel Gonzoles, Price Hall, Aubree Harris, Lacey Lipis, Ranee de la Rosa, Celia Sanchez, Stephanie Schmitz, Miles Smith, and Kate Thomas. Their pieces, which are talented and thought provoking, provide the viewer with a small insight into the mind of the artist. Some of the work displays inspiration of past art, while others are entirely modern and display inspiration from ordinary objects, culture, and even astronomical geology such as the work of Price Hall. But one thing that each artists has in common is that each piece is not only self-referential but also that these pieces allow the viewer to connect with the artist on a personal level.
Painting, photography, ceramics, mixed media and digital media are included in the exhibition. Each artist created art that was emotional and inspiring in their respective mediums. Cynde Miller, Professor and Art Director of the Student Invitational, remarked how the students have artistic talent and technical skills but developed a more conceptual outlook. “They’re not trying to prove anything,” Miller commented. When asked what her favorite piece was she simply replied, “I think they’re all amazing for different reasons.” They all have their own remarkable specialties.
The artists seem to take a few different approaches in creating their pieces. Some of the work could be viewed as self-expressionism because the artist is not only making their personal thoughts public but also providing the viewer a chance at observing the world through another’s eyes. We see this in the work of Lacey Lipis and her self-portraits, Christopher Adlay's "Buttons" which are created from his own sketches, Miles Smith's paintings which he created through the interpretation of his own emotions, and Stephanie Schmitz's self photographs of her in an angered and irritated state. Schmitz said it perfectly, "I'm not just putting my work out there, I'm putting myself out there".
What one also experiences through this exhibition is the idea of conceptual art. With conceptual art the ideas embodied by a piece of art are more central to the work than the means used to create it. We see this in the work of Celia Sanchez. Her photographs depicting a 1950's traditional wife tending to the needs of a modern husband expose female stereotypes and suggest lost identity.
What we see in the sculptures of Ranee de la Rosa and Price Hall are examples of artistic irony. De la Rosa has taken ordinary objects like pillows and changed their composition. These objects which were once soft have now become the very opposite, hard. In Price Hall's sculptures of impact craters and meteorites we again see this idea of irony. He created objects that represent pieces of earth which were made by clay or as Hall titles it "The flesh of the Earth".
Even though art seems to continually change artists still look to the past for inspiration. Traditional religious depictions of the Madonna and child inspired the poses portrayed in the photographs of Aubree Harris. She took a series of over 500 pictures within 6 months of her, her child, and her sleeping husband. To this day her husband has no idea that he has been photographed.
Other artists, like Christopher Adlay look to the present for inspiration. His Button Machine, an old fashioned gumball machine filled with button pins rather than gumballs, was inspired by the band buttons that people are sometimes seen wearing. To take art out of its traditional form and formal constraints is a modernist view, and when art becomes mobile or “saturated” into society, it is definitely an innovative approach. When art gets taken out of its traditional context, it becomes modern. His work was literally taken out of the gallery setting and into the world outside of conventional institutions.
Other reoccurring ideas of Modern art include spontaneity and non-methodological approaches to creating art, by not actually planning how the end result will look. Gabriel Gonzales remarked, “I really don’t think about what I’m drawing or painting but just start painting and whatever it becomes, it becomes.” He is inspired by dreams and nature. Miles Smith’s abstract paintings burst out with vibrant colors; he says he is fueled by emotions and feelings of his past. “I just put some paint on canvas,” he replies.
Lacey Lipis exhibited self-portraits that push the boundaries on the expectations of traditional art. They are not intending to be beautiful; instead she comments “they’re supposed to be gross.” Kate Thomas focused on the concept of existence through documentation by visually promoting several non-existent bands with an array of colorful posters, fliers, and stickers. She also designed the student invitations for the show.
Art is not simply something to be seen, it is an aid in helping define the perspective of the artist as well as the viewer. Art invites the viewer to ask questions and think openly about the work without feeling self-conscious or feeling as if art has to have standards.
The Student Invitational will continue through May 20, 2006. The Wignall Museum is open Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 4 PM, and Saturdays from 12 PM to 4 PM. Admission is free. There will be an artists’ talk on May 4th from 7 to 9 PM.
Vanessa Garcia is the Vice President and Melissa Myers a member of the Chaffey Art History Association.
April 30, 2006
Student Art Rocks Chaffey College