New Gallery Director Launches ‘Labor of Love’

OLGA RAMAZ
El Vaquero Arts and Entertainment Edit

As the new director of the college’s art gallery, computer animation professor Roger Dickes has already fulfilled one goal in his busy agenda on a course that was laden with obstacles.
Walking into the gallery, Dickes saw the opportunity to renovate the entire space in order to better accommodate future art exhibitions.

During the summer Dickes and student worker Jody Smith renovated the entire art gallery — from painting, to tearing down walls, and adding new skylights. The newly remodeled art gallery currently is home to a collection of works by local artist Alicia Beach.
“Labor of Love” is a collection of works by Beach, a Venezuelan born artist who for this exhibition in particular, has turned toward an exploration of the medium of white, negative space in her body of work. The delicate compositions depict a sense of femininity with such elements like flowers and hearts. The whimsical sweeps of color bring to life the theme of love with every stroke.

According to Dickes, one of the major perks of being the new art gallery director was being forced to learn Web design. As a result, Dickes has singled-handedly created a Web site for the art gallery that he hopes will “build a bridge between the college community and the vibrant and diverse cultural landscapes of Los Angeles.” On the site, visitors can find information on current gallery exhibitions, pictures, contact information as well as general gallery information.

Dickes has been an instructor at Glendale Community College for six years, teaching predominantly computer animation classes not only to GCC students but also to industry professionals.
Among other things, Dickes was also a contributor on “South Park: Bigger, Better and Uncut.”

Despite the work efforts to renovate the gallery during the summer, Dickes realizes that the labor paid off.

“I am very excited that the space itself is so perfect to view art, but this space is publicly viewed, so there is a lot of anxiety. You want people to like what you are doing,” Dickes said.
Among other exhibitions, Dickes has planned a show for the upcoming month that will showcase the works of two local sculptors, Donald Morgan and Mason Cooley.

As of right now, there is still space in the gallery calendar for future exhibitions this semester. According to Dickes, the renovation during the summer made it difficult to plan ahead and book events.

It is no easy task choosing which work is displayed in the art gallery. A committee is responsible for determining what artists’ works are showcased. Dickes says that for the most part, all of the artists’ whose work will be displayed in future exhibitions will all be from the local art scene.

Dickes also plans on a student art exhibition, however, he says that it is going to be at least six months before it actually takes place.

“I’d like to do a student exhibition. I really want it to be worthwhile, focused, and to mean something, rather than just be some kind of ethnographic selection of student works,” said Dickes.
Other than art exhibitions, Dickes has thought about hosting poetry readings and musical performances, but at the moment, Dickes just wants to keep things simple. Dickes encourages and welcomes the student body and faculty to take some time out and put a little bit of effort to enjoy themselves at the art gallery.

“I watch people walk by the front entrance and it frustrates me when they just walk by because they are missing out on something really unusual and beautiful. I would really just love for people to take notice of what is going on here in the art gallery and to participate,” said Dickes.

“Labor of Love” runs through Oct. 8. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.