Experience Teaches
By Tasia Endo

Visiting the de Saisset Museum this fall might be overwhelming with the vast array of media, subjects and styles in the works presented in the de Saisset Museum’s current fall exhibition. Experience Teaches: Santa Clara University Art Faculty Exhibition uses this fact to its advantage, as the abundant diversity of the art reflects both the scope of the academic offerings in the university‚Äôs art department and the breadth of these professors‚Äô artistic careers.

“I think more so than a traditional group show, there really is something for everyone,” said Karen Kienzle, de Saisset assistant director for exhibitions, education, and community outreach. “The only overarching theme is that these are all faculty. Different works are going to resonate with different people; that’s what’s so great about this show.”

 

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Kathy Aoki’s, Battle of Kawaii, mixed media on wood, 2005-07

While the anime characters within the expansive painted wood installation, Battle of Kawaii, hint at Kathy Aoki’s position as lecturer of computer art and graphic design, her work makes clear her creative prowess. Part of her “Construction of Modern Girlhood” series, Aoki brings a seductively fantastical world to life, where pseudo-feminist girl construction workers mandate innocent teddy bears to succumb to the all too familiar media messages of becoming slaves to beauty.

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Renee Billingslea’s Uncle Herod at Ninety Three, San Francisco, CA, 2005, gelatin silver print

Renee Billingslea’s black and white photographs of her neighborhood forge awareness of the larger community in which we all live. Just as portraits like Uncle Herod at Ninety Three, San Francisco, CA invoke a level intimacy with Billingslea, these images at the same time allude to social issues like ethnic identity.

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Faculty Meeting by Kelly Detwiler, acrylic on canvas, 2007

Kelly Detweiler pays homage to his history with mentor and friend Roy de Forest, of the Northern California Funk movement in the 1960’s. In Faculty Meeting, Detweiler facetiously answers why de Forest never painted cats with his dogs, as well as provides a playful metaphor for conflict in general.

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Susan Felter’s pigment inkjet print, Western Stream, 2003

Susan Felter’s Western Stream exemplifies her decade long fascination with her “Hunting and Gathering” series. Digitally collaging scanned and photographed images of found objects, Felter creates surreal scenes that blur the physicality of texture with the imagination in her compositions.

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Raku fired ceramic Emergency Telephone by Don Fritz, 2006

 

Don Fritz plays the devil’s advocate in his layered paper and ceramic works, as he revives pop culture imagery from his postwar childhood. Exploring the way these visual symbols trigger socialization into adulthood, Fritz simultaneously expresses his interest in his materials, as seen in raku ceramic pieces like Emergency Telephone.

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Sam Hernandez’ redwood sculpture Bini, 2005

Sam Hernandez’s large-scale organic but structured wood sculptures merge nature with culture. Bini, the nearly ten-foot tall piece that greets visitors into the de Saisset, finds form from the natural healing of the tree after having been struck by lightening, as well as takes inspiration from an African belt buckle.

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Assertive, ceramic sculpture by Pancho Jimenez , 2006

Francisco “Pancho” Jimenez deviates from solely nonrepresentational works in his current series of abstract sculptures of heads, which explores human emotions. The almost seven-foot tall Assertive nearly demands a contemplative psychological exchange with the viewer.

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Self Portrait: Little Man, mixed media by Marco Marquez, 2007

Marco Marquez’s photographically based collage paintings infer a convoluted quest for resurrecting memories, where images alone can’t stand in for our pasts. In his Self Portrait: Little Man, Marquez revisits his childhood aspirations with the hindsight gained from adulthood, only to reveal a sense of disappointment.

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David Pace’s Santiago (Domino Players), 2006, is a seleium toned gelatin silver print

The black and white photography by David Pace gives color to Cuban culture. As globalization looms over the lives of individuals everywhere, Pace connects American viewers with his sitters through portraits of their everyday life, as seen in Santiago (Dominoes Players).

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Trung Pham’s Transformation, oil on canvas

Trung Pham, S.J. finds inspiration for his abstract paintings within his Vietnamese cultural roots. From the straw hat image, Pham explores visual and conceptual abstraction, uniting his immigrant past with his present spiritual awareness as a Jesuit through painting.

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Riverside Bridge, oil on panel, 2007 by R. Reynolds

Through unidentifiable scenes of freeways and industrial sites, R. Reynolds conjures a sense of the familiar in viewers. Scratched grids and gestural swatches of paint not only call attention to the medium in pieces like Riverside Bridge, but also insinuate Reynold’s artistic approach on life: eliciting the interesting from what’s often overlooked

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Above Rubens, 1985, oil on canvas, by Gerald Sullivan

Amidst the art historical references, classical subjects and realistically represented figures, Gerald Sullivan, S.J., instills his personality into his paintings. Sullivan, who has been at SCU the longest among his exhibiting colleagues, evidences through his satirical approach to art that humor can coexist with seniority.

Tasia Endo is a senior art history and journalism major at Santa Clara University.

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