Thursday, May 30, 2013

TCC Student Show

The Weekly Volcano, May 30, 20132

I enjoyed visiting the student art show at Tacoma Community College. 

The first thing to catch the eye upon entering the gallery is a large, two-part print project created as a collaboration by printmaking students. A series of black and white prints — they look like etchings or woodcuts — fill two good-sized, unframed and unstretched canvases. The images range from Northwest coastal Indian masks to Beavis from the TV show “Beavis and Butthead” (or maybe it’s Butthead, I never can get those guys straight). It’s a strong and impactful graphic image.

The other drawings and prints in the show are inconsistent: some pretty good, some lame, and everything in between. The photos, some of the sculpture, and the commercial graphic arts projects are much stronger.
Ali Abedi’s “Spring,” wood, paper and plaster, is disturbing and impossible to ignore. It is a blood-splattered plaster hand with cut-off fingers. A powerful image.

I like J. Gordon Rudolph’s “Musical Landscape With Trees.” Spoon-shaped metal objects are mounted on a board in a grid pattern. The board is painted in wavering bands of dark blue, purple, orange and yellow. The contrasts of colors and shapes and the slight variations within repetitive forms make for an intriguing image.
There is a group of drawings of letters forming patterns in black ink on white paper. The best of these is Cindy Aldrich’s “Letter Vomit,” a cascade of the letters “h” and “y” that are solid black on top melding into line shading and to outlined letters at the bottom. It is interesting how the identical letters “h” and “y” depending on the way they are positioned.

There are a lot of outstanding photographs — I counted 34 in all — filling two walls of the gallery. Among the best of these are three by Zenia Rodriguez; a strong image of sunlight and shadows under a pier by Michelle Jackson; two photos by Logan Pederson, one of a figure standing in front of a market sign and another of a figure, feet only, standing on wet pavement with that same market sign reflected in the water; and a great picture of a woman seen from waist down seated on a concrete slab in front of a graffiti-filled wall.

There is a wall of graphic art projects including announcements for this show designed by Xavier Lebron and Kara Woodstock, and a design for a Museum of Glass logo painted on a car by Justin Holaday.
My favorite piece in the whole show is a sculpture by Chris Nokes of a suspension bridge made of wood and metal. The towers from which the cables hang are anthropomorphized with “heads” like camera lens, and all of the wood framing is wrapped with some kind of parchment-like paper. It seems to simultaneously reflect ancient and futuristic cultures.

As in all student shows, there are hits and misses. The hits make the entire show worth visiting.

[Tacoma Community College, Student Art Exhibition, noon to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, through June 13, Building 4, entrance off South 12th Street between Pearl and Mildred, Tacoma.]

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