|“Acropolis Museum” oil on panel by Marit Berg, courtesy Tacoma Community College|
Friday, April 21, 2017
Art Faculty exhibition at Tacoma Community College
by Alec Clayton
Published in the Weekly Volcano, April 20, 2017
Talented artists all, members of the art faculty at Tacoma Community College are showing some of their latest works. Exhibiting artists are: Kyle Dillehay, Alice Di Certo, Jenny Roholt, Melinda Liebers Cox, Anthony Culanag, Frank Dippolito, Karen Doten, Rick Mahaffey, Reid Ozaki and Marit Berg.
Probably the most engaging piece in the show is a collaborative work by Dillehay and Di Certo that greets the viewer upon entering the gallery. It is called “U.S.A. Cabinet.” This piece is an old index-card file cabinet with 60 drawers. The drawers are labeled with headings that refer to contemporary issues surrounding the Trump presidency and both local and national political and social issues in the year 2017 — for example “Initiative 1552,” the proposed Washington state initiative to restrict public bathroom use to persons of the gender assigned at birth; a more generic label, “Trumping the Constitution”; a “Russia Drawer”; and a “Human Rights Venting Drawer.” Stuffed into these drawers are drawings, photographs, newspaper clippings, and a whole lot of other objects — most if not all of which are verbal or visual political or social commentary. Blank index cards sit on a nearby table, and visitors to the gallery are invited to write or draw on them and add them to the appropriate drawers. Visitors who have the time to do so can easily spend hours studying the contents of these drawers.
Cox is showing a couple of nice little acrylic paintings called “Pick Up Stix” (numbers one and two). In each, sticks from the game are scattered on a patterned rug or mat to create overlapping patterns in candy-bright colors. They’re like Philip Pearlstein paintings without the figures.
Also nice to look at are a group of graphite drawings by Doten. These are drea-like abstractions based on landscape with soft modulations of gray shapes and lots of white space. They are dream-like. Also in the group is one slightly different piece with collage and a line drawing of a canyon superimposed over the soft graphite drawing. It’s at the beginning of the line of drawings and nicely serves as an introduction as if to say “See what follows.”
Berg fills one long gallery wall and part of an adjacent shorter wall with drawings and paintings made during a trip to Athens, Greece. Along one wall are 11 pages from her travel journal with sensitive line drawings and written notes about her trip. There are also three small oil paintings on wooden panels. Viewed from left to right, these paintings become increasingly surrealistic. First is “Taking a Break in Athens,” a naturalistic painting of a girl sprawled out on a couch reading a book. Behind her is a window overlooking the city, and to her right a larger window offering a larger view of the city. I love the contrast of the restful picture of the reclining reader and the congested city scene. Next is “Acropolis Museum,” a painting of a girl (most likely the same girl) meandering through columns and statues in the museum. What is striking is the girl is wearing a colorful dress, as is one of the statues, while everything else is white. It seems a piece out of time that resonates with the girl, thus making ancient works seem timeless. The last painting is also of a museum, and in this one everything overlaps and seems to be reflected as in a fun-house mirror. Seeing the three of them side-by-side is like looking at still from a movie in which reality and imagination merge.
I wish I could describe all of the work in this very rich show; I encourage readers to see the whole thing for themselves.”
Art Faculty, noon to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday, through May 5, Tacoma Community College, Building 5A, entrance off South 12th Street between Pearl and Mildred, Tacoma, visitor parking in Lot G.