Defying Comfort Levels of Artists and Audiences

Helen Galvin
El Vaquero Staff Writer

On Friday afternoon, the room was white, cold and empty – by Monday morning it had been infused with brown, red, yellow, charcoal and pink.

The art exhibit “Two Views ~ Sculptors Draw,” which opened Oct. 1, is an invitation to explore a new concept of art. One will not find a statue of Venus di Milo here, “which society tells you is art, so you only think that type of `art’ is art,” Annabelle Aylmer, GCC Gallery Director, said. “I wanted to demonstrate a range of contemporary ideas of artists who primarily work in three dimensions but who work on paper as well.”

Seeing is believing. The artists used simple colors and common items -erasers, wood shavings, and dry milk as their medium – to expose a part of themselves and at the same time, daring the viewer to do the same.

Maryrose Mendoza’s “Eraser Series,” allows the viewer to flow from the over-sized pink eraser top, two jars containing bits of eraser, a drawing entitled “Charcoal on Paper,” and finally to the finished drawing – a Stanford Pink Pearl 101 Eraser returned to one piece. “My idea was to take something away, since you are always adding to a drawing,” Mendoza said.

Minoru Ohira uses Aztec, Japanese and Mexican influences in his work. Ohira transforms natural materials such as split timber and twigs into modern art. “Vessel of Wood” is a clear example. It stands alone like a Zen pot, serene and calm; the entire sculpture is made of wood chips. Recycling at its best. Two untitled pictures hang at a distance on either side of the sculpture, both drawn on Japanese paper in Sumi ink.

Your eye immediately gravitates to a model of a yellow rabbit suspended from the ceiling. Look again, the exact rabbit has been drawn on parchment paper in charcoal. Wait, there is a framed picture of the same rabbit. The “Snared Hare Series” captures your attention, especially when you notice the dry milk under the rabbit, as if it is a puddle of blood. What is more chilling are the words written in the milk, “From me my love for you is so deep it bleeds.” Suvan Geer’s work is the single most emotional piece in the exhibit. It will make you ask questions. Why do I bleed? Have I been snared? “A week from now, a year from now, you will remember this piece,” Aymlar said, “it is all about life.” Dorothy, we definitely aren’t in Kansas anymore.

Richard Oginz’s “Home Series” is very much a part of himself. “It’s my home, my work place. I began drawing it, sort of like a diary.” “House” is a solid piece of cement standing on steel, and the foundation of this series – secure, strong. The paper house, “Homemaker,” is two and three dimensional. Oginz cleverly surprises us with the drawing “Encina,” painted in acrylic on canvas, which, if one has a very good eye, is the interior of “Homemaker.”