The new art gallery at Cosumnes River College is a large, elegant, high-ceilinged space. At 3,000 square feet it is the largest and far and away the handsomest of the college galleries in the Los Rios Community College District, which also includes Sacramento City College and American River College.
“We waited 20 years to get this space,” said Yoshio Taylor, the gallery’s director and a member of the art faculty at CRC. The passage of a $1.25 million bond issue allowed the long-awaited gallery to be built.
“Renaissance,” the grand opening exhibition, is a show of works by CRC art faculty, past and present. The 30 works by 14 artists on view range from Ronald Houck’s nostalgic figurative oil painting “Piano Man” to Marcelle Wiggins’ “Senses I,” a colorful digital painting of trees and large dots that combines biomorphic and geometric forms.
The late Patrick Dullanty, who was so instrumental in the creation of the art department at CRC, is represented by “River Factory,” a small woodcut print of an industrial building in a riparian landscape that is a solid composition. It displays his mastery of abstract forms that underlie his realism.
Sarma Kasssiere shows two drawings, one digital and one in charcoal. The digital drawing, titled “Madonna Dreaming,” is a fanciful piece in which a Leonardo-like woman wears a towering headdress. Made up of faces rising up over her somnolent face, the hairdo is like an ascending dream. The charcoal is a much grittier portrait of a woman named Monique who is presented without glamour.
Margaret Woodcock shows three mixed-media paintings that combine botanical forms with lush abstract passages and fragments of text. “Accompanying Romance” is an image of sunflowers in a richly textured quasi-abstract composition that reminds one of works by Mary Warner and Tom Leaver. It’s one of the strongest works in the show.
Linda Fitzgibbon shows three ceramic sculptures. “Leda and the Swan” is a droll image of Leda and Zeus wrapped in an awkward embrace. “Chicken or the Egg” features a flattened chicken, an egg, and squash plants in a humorous mash-up. “Knuckle Ball,” a rococo form with a deep interior that calls up associations with undersea creatures and coral concretions, takes off in a new direction reminiscent of the quirky sculptures of Robert Ortbal.
Patricia Wall’s “Five for Sherry” features wine glasses in front of an upside-down poster for a show called “Drawing From the Figure.” It’s a nicely done visual puzzle, as is her nearly trompe l’oeil painting “Venetian Glass,” which combines blown glass teardrop forms, a dead bird and a poster of scenic Venice.
Linnell Barnhart shows a couple of quaint ceramic sculptures. “Tea With Grandpa and Friends” is a sweet piece that features a girl with her grandfather, a dog and a squirrel, also seated around the table. “Going Home” is a small sculpture of a sinking boat in a deep blue sea.
Jeff Kimbler displays a large charcoal drawing of a corner of his studio and a studious academic drawing of a male figure. Cynthia Charters shows a pair of dark, romantic landscapes with moons and willow trees. Kris Lyons is represented by two ceramic wall pieces of deco-like forms with velveteen glazes.
Ed Blackburn gives us two earthenware, Cubistic, puzzlelike wall pieces in bright colors, and Geri Donovan offers a surreal digital collage of a man and a giant pocket watch titled “Man With a Tick-Tock Heart.”
Taylor, who curated the show, is represented by three ceramic sculptures of exotic women, one in a mask with an elaborate headdress that features a wispy snow woman and another sporting a monocle, as well as a bronze and steel sculpture of a pyramid with a sinuous ascending tendril.
The show is a good introduction to CRC’s faculty artists and the college’s spectacular new gallery.
At other colleges
It should be noted that there is also a dynamic self-portrait show up at the Kondos Gallery at Sacramento City College (3835 Freeport Blvd., 916-558-2559) featuring strong works by Jack Ogden, Julia Couzens, Jim Adan, Ron Peetz and Marcy Friedman, among others. Also, the James Kaneko Gallery at American River College (4700 College Oak Drive, 916-484-8399) presents “Postmodern Extinction,” a show of works by Kim Scott, John Stuart Berger, Robert Bowen and Bruce Gossett.
These college galleries do a great job of providing alternatives to the Crocker Art Museum and Sacramento’s private galleries.
What: Exhibit of Cosumnes River College art faculty
Where: Cosumnes River College Art Gallery, 8401 Center Parkway (west entrance), Sacramento
When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday through Dec. 5