The Exhibitor’s Exhibit
Cliff Gallery at Mountain View College
Through May 10, 2013
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you can’t swing a dead cat in Dallas without hitting an MFA. For the artist it means that competition is fierce to get shown (and sell) your work. Art collectors are like kids in a candy store and art students are able to reap the benefits of the artist / educators in Dallas area colleges.
The Exhibitor’s Exhibit currently on display in the Cliff Gallery at Mountain View College is a showcase of not just teachers and artists but also the gallery directors from each school in the Dallas Community College District. When I saw the notice for this show I was curious – what would these individuals who are usually choosing and organizing art events select from their own body of work to display?
The artists are:
- Iris Bechtol – Eastfield
- Steven Benezue – North Lake
- Randall Garrett – El Centro
- Elizabeth Holden – Cedar Valley
- David Kirkland – Mountain View
- David Newman – Brookhaven
- Ryder Richards and Michael Mazurek – Richland
I asked David Kirkland, gallery director and curator of this event what gave him the idea for the show. He told me,”We were just brainstorming ideas for exhibits in our Gallery Committee and remembered that Steven Benezue at North Lake had done the same idea several years ago; seemed like a good time to revive it. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the different artist’s pieces worked together to make a cohesive exhibit, despite us having nothing tying us together except for our jobs. It was easy to arrange the show to make for a nice flow visually as well as conceptually / thematically.”
Speaking of Steven Benezue, you are going to love his fun and colorful prints. He has several large shiny pieces that are a riot of geometric patterns. I googled Steven when I got home and apparently his use of primary colors is consistent. I have to admit that my favorite piece was a small subdued version. The texture and colors reminded me of tissue paper art projects done when I was a child and so brought back happy memories. He did mention that the large glossy prints are a new direction in his work. Since his MFA is in ceramics, I asked him if he’d always been a painter too.
Steven told me, “I am generally know as a ceramic artists but through some changes in my life I had to shut down my ceramics studio and put all of my equipment into storage for the time being. Since I am an artist I am compelled to create, I have begun the body of work of which four are on display at Mountain View College Gallery. The works at Mountain View College are giclée prints on paper mounted on panels, (pronounced szhe-clay). The body of work began as depictions of aerial photographs. Depicting an imaginary landscape but in realistic detail. As I made more artworks they became more and more abstracted. I enjoyed the out come so much I let them be as abstract as they wanted. The works on display at Mountain View College represent different aspects of land ownership development and creation. I enjoy the process of creating and manipulation the numerous little square that intersect and overlap to create the patters in the artworks. Each little shape represents a plot of land, manipulated in some way by humans. I have about 30 works in this series completed (in the computer). This summer I will print, mount and frame them for future showings. I also hope to have a ceramics studio built by the end of summer so i can get back to work on clay. I am anxious and excited to see how the computer work will influence my future clay work.”
I specifically went the reception to speak to Randall Garret. I know him as a student of philosophy and when I saw preview pictures of his installation The Ever Changing Mandala of Completeness I knew it was an expression of his study of Buddhism. I asked him to explain the piece in relation to eastern philosophy. Randall said,”In Tibetan Buddhist thought, all experience springs up from the “Ground”, that is, un-manifest pure awareness, in a continual flow of rise and fall. The analog in art is the relationship of figure to ground. My recent work, including this installation piece, attempts to enact that symbolically, by erasing or washing over the images, in a give and take between positive and negative space. The mandala is generated by the fresh cut flowers and earth at the center of the work, which function as a meditative focal point that references the relentless nature and beauty of change.” I loved this piece because of it’s organic nature and the changes occurring as the flowers wither. I also appreciate the transitory aspect of an installation like this.
The Exhibitor’s Exhibit runs until May 10, 2013.
Cliff Gallery at Mountain View College
The easiest way to find the Cliff Gallery is to enter the parking lot from Duncanville Road. Park near Building S – follow the path to the left around Building S through the picnic area. Enter the doors go through the big room called the Treetop Lounge – veer to the right & the Cliff Gallery is down a short flight of stairs. There is a lift for persons unable to negotiate the stairs. Just Let David Kirkland know you need assistance.
Normal Cliff Gallery hours this semester are Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursday and Fridays from 12 to 6 p.m.; Wednesdays from 2 to 7 p.m.