Reception exhibits LMC talents

Employee art show wows attendees


Cathie Lawrence • Experience

Professor Lucy Snow (rear) and student Jessica Walters admire Kathryn Nielsen’s basket weaving.

It was an evening of wonder and amazement as a crowd of enthusiasts gathered inside the LMC Art Gallery Thursday, Sept. 4 for a reception commemorating the annual Faculty and Staff Exhibition currently on display.

The exhibit, which features works by a variety of employees that work inside and out of the college art programs, left viewers with a new outlook towards some of the artists here on campus.

“That is so awesome,” said student Raquel Rynders as she commented on Eloine Chapman’s “Study In Silver”, one of many pieces she entered for this years exhibit.

“I had no clue they were this talented,” said Jamila Brown, an art major with a focus on ceramics.

Organized by gallery director Judi Pettite and her students, the reception was open for all those who had an interest in the arts and gave them a chance to meet and speak with the artists whose pieces were featured.

A small group listened as artist Kathryn Nielsen described the process she uses to weave pine needles into intricate designs made to create her elaborate baskets.

“I work a couple hours a day, a week,” said Nielsen to an attendee. “You just keep adding pine needles as you go.”

Eloine Chapman, whose print “When The Devil Burns” received much attention, described the moment she captured the image of the enormous wildfire on Mount Diablo last year, an event that for her, struck so close to home.

“I heard the crackling as I was taking the picture,” said Chapman, remembering the setting as she waited for just the right combination of elements. “Seeing the reflection of the fire in the water,” Chapman added describing the moment she decided to snap the camera lens. “That’s the image, I can go now.”

While some of the pieces on display did indeed capture the essence of everyday life, others offered an imaginative look into the minds of their creators.

“We’re all on a search,” said artist Ken Alexander, reflecting on his piece “Dreams Are Myth,” a fantasy related painting that differs from some of his other works. “Sometimes we are looking for something, and it’s right there.”

As the crowd moved through the gallery looking at the various pieces, they enjoyed the many snacks and refreshments Pettite and her students provided. Chips, cookies and fresh fruit and vegetables were among the available treats. Fresh lemonade was constantly replenished by Assistant Curator and arts major Ty Gocuan, one of many tasks director Pettite assigns to her students as part of the “vocational” aspect of her curriculum.

Throughout the evening, many of the artists offered their own opinions towards some of the works their colleagues produced.

“I really like Judi’s paintings,” said Lucy Snow as she pointed to one of the gallery director’s untitled paintings. “I like where my mind goes when I look at them.”

While all the artists received their fair share of praise from their peers, one whose absence from the reception was felt by many and indeed captured the attention of employees and students alike.

“I love Gil’s work,” said Pettite, describing the various wood carved pieces entered by artist Gil Amaral. “I’m found of Gil because he finds art anywhere. We’ll definitely miss him.”

Gil Amaral, who recently retired from LMC, is responsible for many of the landscape features seen on campus. He is also known by his fellow artists for his ability to find raw pieces of wood on campus and carve into the physical forms from his imagination.

As the reception concluded, those who attended the event left with a better look into the artistic side of some of LMC’s faculty and staff, both those in the art department and those outside who just share the same passion for their art.

For those interested in viewing the works of art currently on display, regular gallery hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. and reopened later from 4 to 6 p.m.

The Faculty and Staff exhibit will continue to run until Sept. 24 at which time it will be removed to make room for the next exhibit which will feature the works of Ann Holsberry and focus on the art of cyanotype prints.