Behind the Art

A work of art displayed in the Student Show Case at the Mt. SAC Gallery. Melody Waintal/SAConScene

A work of art displayed in the Student Show Case at the Mt. SAC Gallery. Melody Waintal/SAConScene

The Mt. SAC Gallery is now exhibiting student artwork from May 11 to June 8.

The exhibit consists of art pieces students have made in class or on their own time in the last 2 years.  The types of work vary from photography to abstract with all kinds of media and they are numbered throughout the gallery.

Patty Torres, 23, points to her printmaking piece on display at the Student Show Case. Melody Waintal/SAConScene

Printmaking is one of the many media present in the Student Show Case. It is one of the oldest art forms that traces back to the fifth century in China, but flourished during the early Renaissance.

It consists of engraving a piece of material – either metal, wood or rubber – where the raised part is what shows on paper. The artist paints over the engraved material and presses it on paper or canvas.

Unlike other art forms, printmaking can be recreated over and over like a photocopy. Patty Torres, a 23-year-old art major, created an Alice in Wonderland woodcut work out of linoleum. Linoleum is a rubber-like material that substitutes wood in printmaking.

“I like how psychedelic it is and I wanted to continue the Alice in Wonderland theme,” Torres said.

“Pieta,” one of 31-year-old Rick Merian’s four works of art on display at the Student Show Case. Melody Waintal/SAConScene

Rick Merian, 31, is a fine art major and a tattoo artist. He has four works of art at the exhibit, each one with a different theme. His painting, “Pieta,” was inspired by the numerous times he has tattooed the Virgin Mary on other people.

On the same wall is one of his more savage works, “Gorilla,” where he blended two very different styles he liked: expressionism and realism.

Expressionism was a modernist movement in the 20th century that was known for its use of emotion in the brush strokes and the distortion of images, while realism was more like a painted photograph. His other two works are located in the eastern wing of the gallery.

Chris Pomar, 27, stands in front of his piece on display at the Student Show Case, which he refers to as “Orbital.” Melody Waintal/SAConScene

Colors inspired Chris Pomar, a 27-year-old graphic design major, in creating his piece of deer.

Pomar added, “I draw too. Painting is more involved, but I enjoy them equally.”

Although his work is unnamed, he said “I would call it ‘Orbital’ because of the composition. I haven’t decided whether the animals are in the foreground or in the background.”

Behind the gallery is a whole community in charge of putting the exhibit together.

Fatemeh Burnes is the gallery director and exhibition curator at Mt. SAC. She explained that in the past, outside judges would come to campus and vote on the works they thought deserved to go up in the gallery, but the faculty felt the judges set a very specific standard that did not represent the students and their demographics.

She said, “We decided to have full-time faculty judging the artwork because they are here and they see the students.”

Judging is democratic and anonymous. Beginning students’ work is separated from intermediate and advance to ensure their work is judged appropriately. The full-time faculty who attend the artwork election attend voluntarily.

“The people judging the show have credentials: they teach here,” Burnes said. “They have the ability to decide what represents the curriculum. We make sure [the students’] work is anonymously put up.”

The art gallery is free, and is located in the far northwest corner of the campus behind the Sophia B. Clarke Theater in building 1B. For more information, visit the gallery’s website.