Friday, May 24, 2013

Student Art Exhibit at South Puget Sound Community College

The Weekly Volcano, May 23, 2013
Plaster and pastel sculpture by Caitlin McDonald
Of course there are a few clunkers in the 8th Annual Student Art Exhibit at South Puget Sound Community College, but there are plenty of impressive works as well. Most impressive of all may be a large cardboard forest against the back wall of the gallery. It’s a collaborative work by students in the 3-D Design class.

Also impressive is a small figure drawing in sharpie and vine charcoal by Colin Johnstone. It’s a reclining nude with a nice blend of expressive and lyrical contour drawing and flat shaded areas. The drawing and the position of the figure suggest exhausted collapse. It reminds me a lot of drawings by Rodin.

And then there is a group of three plaster sculptures by students Melyssa Wilder, Ashley Gunderson and Caitlin McDonald. With realistic heads and rough arms and hands, these figures hang on the wall and each is doing something thoroughly contemporary: talking on a cell phone, playing a Nintendo, napping with head on the keyboard of a netbook — good work both individually and collectively.

Hauntingly mysterious and atmospheric is a black and white digital photograph by Jennifer Watts of a group of figures that appear to be chess pieces, kings and knights and bishops, brought to life to wander zombie-like in a fog-shrouded world. The atmospheric mood is created by the artist’s use of selective focus.

Like some kind of iconic monolith, a cigarette butt stands upright in Brandon A. Cartwright’s digital photograph “Tree Cig.” It takes a strong imagination and artistic vision to create such a monumental image from a piece of trash.

One of the nicest works in the show is Winona So’s ceramic mug called “Graiff Mug.” I don’t know if the odd spelling was intentional or not, but I do know that the excellent graphic image of a giraffe with his neck as the mug handle is clever and enjoyable to look at. Another piece that’s definitely worth mentioning is Patricia McLain’s “Boy With Antlers, Experiments in Relief Printing.” It is a handmade artist book fanned out for display with on each page the same picture of a boy with antlers on his head, each printed in a different color. It’s an attractive piece.
You may not go to a student show with high expectations, but this one is certainly worth a trip across town to SPSCC.

[South Puget Sound Community College, Kenneth J Minnaert Center for the Arts Gallery, Monday-Thursday, noon-4 p.m., through June 6, and by appointment, 2011 Mottman Rd. SW. Olympia, 360.596.5527.]

For another student art show visit the gallery at Tacoma Community College and watch for my review of that show to be published in the Volcano May 30th.

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