Art with teeth
The 21st annual student show at Butte College’s Coyote Gallery
Watch it, folks! That thing’s got teeth!
And it does, too. Of sorts. Dark steel teeth within its great welded metal band-formed jaws. Systems of pulleys, wires, bike chains, drive shafts and more can be observed through the great metal saurian’s skeletal form, suggesting that, when suitably coaxed, the faux reptile is capable of limited movement of some kind.
You can’t miss this great creature. It’s to the right after you enter the Montgomery Library on the Butte College campus. Off to the left, poised above the display cases between the check-out desk and the Learning Resource Center desk, a resurrected pteranodon seems to hover. Closer inspection suggests the creature is formed from a variety of materials, including wood, clay or plaster, and so on. The details in the otherwise extinct creature are noteworthy. It is a credit to the person who created the sculpture.
The “crocodile” and the “pteranodon” are just two pieces featured in this year’s student art and design exhibition at the Coyote Gallery, at Butte College. Over 200 entries were offered for assessment for this year’s show. What is on the walls and, in some cases, the floor of the gallery represent the best of those entries. And as might be expected, the level of artistic inspiration and ability varied greatly among the accepted pieces.
The above described metal sculpture, “Reptile,” was fashioned by Jason Roye and received the first-place award for three-dimensional work. The piece is not only fun, but also interesting to contemplate, as the intricacies of its construction are there for the curious to trace. Second-place winner in this same category is Robert A. Phipps’ “Edge of Winter Waiting,” a “found object” construct suggesting a tree against a stark moon, or clouds perhaps. Bits of concrete rubble, baling wire and copper tubing form a free-standing, bare-limbed tree. The aluminum “clouds” look like trimmed air conditioning/heater unit material. Considered as a heating unit waiting to “bloom” in winter, the piece has a nice humor to it.
Third-place winner in the three-dimensional category is our restored pteranodon, “Grace in Flight,” created by Thomas Foster from mixed media. Again, the attention to details here is remarkable and would do a paleontologist attempting to reconstruct such a long-gone glider proud.
In the two-dimensional-art category, Kerrisa Reader’s chalk pastel “Mary of the Pietá” is a nice interpretation of the female figure’s face from Michelangelo’s famous sculpture. Reader manages to suggest both the softness of the woman’s skin and her garments while also conjuring the density of the original work’s marble. A delicate balance of textures.
Third-place winner in 2-D art is Christal Walker’s black-and-white photo piece, “Self-Portrait Triptych.” The three-sectioned work hovers slightly above the heads of observers in the gallery, which is probably appropriate since “triptychs” tend to have religious significance. A small-case letter “i” occupies the first otherwise transparent sheet, a portrait of presumably the artist in sunglasses against the brick of what looks like a church in the middle (the largest of the three) section, and, in close-up, the artist’s eyes gaze frankly into the viewer’s from the final section. Spread across the three is a prose poem of sorts, reminiscent of those repetitious, spell-like ancient Celtic pieces wherein the speaker describes what she is, and yet the observer is left somehow with a greater mystery.
There are many other works—paintings, ceramic pieces, photographs, and so on—also worth some serious contemplation; however, space here won’t permit a detailed study of them all. I will close by stating that I laughed out loud and often during Marcus Ginduroz’ computer-animated "Who’s Your Daddy?"—a white trash talk/game-show described entirely with computer animated characters and backgrounds. It wasn’t state-of-the-art, but it was well done.