Student Show Review
By JOSEF WOODARD
SANTA BARBARA NEWS-PRESS
April 29, 2011 12:00 AM
"Artistic Energies, Densely Packed. The annual Santa Barbara City College student art show is another densely packed assortment of work in various media"
"And the prize for most inspiring view from an artspace in Santa Barbara goes to... the Atkinson Gallery. This much everybody who has seen it knows. The gallery space at Santa Barbara City College boasts a panoramic vista of the harbor and beachfront below, and the city and its fringing mountains, the stuff of postcards, and ever threatening to distract the focus of serious art-watchers in the space.
At the moment, the Atkinson patio's "sculpture garden" area is the most peaceable alcove in an otherwise dense interior gallery. Yes, it's that time again, when the SBCC Student Art show consumes the gallery with its plethora of artwork by students from beginning to advanced classes, and from all corners of the artistic range and media.
Once again, the show (this one juried By Linda Ekstrom, from UCSB's College of Creative Studies) conveys the powerfully spirited atmosphere of the college's art department, and this art building, in particular. For the most part, the exhibition is laid out in a logical and fluid way, balancing elements of style, scale and media in a way that makes this abundance of diverse art more palatable to peruse.
Two colorful, visually kinetic abstract paintings hang together and supply a nice compare-and-contrast op. Joaquin Quintana's impressive, arabesque-ish "Succulent" presents a seductive blending of hue, shape and illusory depth, while Julie Uecker's "Revolve" veritably bustles with a kind of fine, knotty visual activity, like neurotic tangles of rainbow colored yarn.
On calmer turf, Perry Goodman's "Coffee Cup," of charcoal and graphite, is a loosely rendered image of a cup and its shadow, floating on an oversized white void of a backdrop. In a similar way, Michael Alcantar's "Bottomless Pit" is a white-space-filled etching of a simple hole on the ground, subtly implying depth and unseen space beyond the spare image at hand. Lizzie Smith's "Apres-Midi" is a black-and-white photograph, looking down on a courtyard from a high perspective, turning urban reality into an appealing, abstract-like design.
Chloe Gray's "Untitled" work is a tall, scrolling checkerboard "fabric" art piece, but made from the left-of-normal material of carefully sewn-together tea bags. It's an inventive and effective re-use of readily available objects. But that large work is entirely different from another impressive, large-ish piece in the show, Catherine Estrada's "Chasing Voodoo," a blue-suffused acrylic painting of a famous close-up image of jazz great Miles Davis (and it's more than just "kind of" blue).
Art about art history works into this mix, in different ways, including August Young's loopy sculpture twist on the famous Magritte painting, "The Treachery of Images," perched out on the patio. This is not a pipe, but a surreally tall chair sculpture, bearing the telling title "This is Not a Chair, this is a Sculpture of a Chair."
In other art-about-art news, Emma Thompson's "Chuck Close" replicates a well-known image of the famed, postmodernist portraitist, while Patricia Miles' "Homage to Van Gogh" operates in a more once-removed mode, vis-a-vis style and medium. Her gathering of colored wood pieces on a platform play like a sidelong tribute to the palette and the faceted feel of Van Gogh's paintings, but translated into playful three-dimensional form.
While there are many fine, conventional examples of sculpture and ceramics in the show, the sculpture work that tends to seize attention takes paths less trodden. That would certainly include Slava Borzunov's strange and self-defining "A Series of 30 Wax Gummy Bears," with a group of symmetrically arranged, multi-colored cute bears corralled into an enclosure surrounded By barbed wire, contrasting sweet and repressive inferences in a darkly humorous setting.
Found and repurposed objects come into play, as well, as in Inga Guzyte's "Monkey Robot," a funky, cool mutant creature, made from a chopped-up skateboard and other mixed media, and Carol Phillipp's "Baby's First Birthday," a tiny dress fastidiously made from wire. On the miniature/hermetic scale, Sarah Xanthakis' "My Fierce Emotions Roam" is a tiny old book, with tinier collage pieces and detailed handiwork creating a dimensional world of its own, luring the viewer down and into its curious Lilliputian logic.
Meanwhile, back outside in the "sculpture garden," three large sculptures hold sway, blending bigness of scale and lightness on other fronts. Sarah Heusel's "Untitled" steel and yarn construction is massive, but soft, and Trent Petterson's "Never Enough" is a muscular metal piece, with rusted metal arcs suggesting an industrial-grade kite. But it is spare and airy, as well, with a semi-transparent sheathing of metal screen to lighten the material load.
As a kind of bright-spirited fare thee well, Bryce Holloway's yellow aviary piece "For the Birds" hangs directly over the door as you leave. It's a pleasing blast of cartoony wit, a visual joy buzzer on the way out."
SBCC STUDENT ART SHOW
When: through May 13
Where: Atkinson Gallery, Santa Barbara City College, 721 Cliff Dr.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Information: 965-0581, Ext. 3484, www.gallery.sbcc.edu