A two-sided, life-size sculpture of a one-breasted woman in the throes of the exhilarating, terrifying confrontation with breast cancer.
The sculptural outline of a tree silhouetted against a sunset that will snatch your breath away.
A beautiful ceramic bowl with a brilliant swirl of blue and green glazes and a hand-polished handle of sensuous manzanita root.
A woman in love.
A man in despair.
A duck at sunset.
Gila Community College’s third annual student and faculty art show had it all.
“Every year, I’m blown away all over again,” said Dean Pam Butterfield of the quality of the hundreds of entries which filled the two large art studio rooms, the long classroom hallway and several large computer classrooms last week.
The exhibit includes work produced by students in 15 different classes and represented the creative effort of more than 100 different artists.
The exhibit this year also included work by faculty members, many of them professional artists in their own right.
The show highlights the talent of the students and showcases the addition of enough classes to confer an AA degree in arts education. This year the school added to its offerings the last three classes needed for the degree — fundamentals of color and design and printmaking.
The breadth and quality of the work impressed many of the people who wandered down through the classrooms brimming with artwork in a welter of mediums.
“This is amazing,” said Tom Jerrod as he made his way from one work to the next. “Who’d have believed a little town like this had so many artists?”
“Our students are very dedicated,” said Butterfield. “They spent a lot of hours on their projects, and it’s reflected in the work. I know there’s a great diversity here in the types of students and the types of art they’re interested in.”
The show featured the work of a number of instructors — and the output of several new classes.
The college this year has a new ceramics teacher — David Sanchez. His class contributed more than 100 pieces to the show.
“He’s added a real depth and range to the ceramics pieces,” said Butterfield.
The college has also added classes in paper arts taught by Shannon Bielke.
Elissa Hugens Aleshire has also added both watercolor and folk art classes. The Outsider Art class invited students to use unconventional mediums like papier mache to address often vividly original topics. The riotous mix of themes and materials sent students off in every possible direction and focused on the growing art world appreciation for the often obsessive work of untrained or “naïve” artists.
The instructor’s own papier mache and Styrofoam sculpture of two naked women post mastectomy titled “Lilith is having a bad day,” drew many comments — some shocked, many admiring. The piece reflected the artist’s own experience with breast cancer and mastectomy.
The photography classes under Tom Brossart and the photoshop class under Jeannie Herford contributed the most individual pieces to the show, ranging from the beautiful to the bizarre — with a big dose of whimsy thrown in.
The range of art classes offered at the college now includes beginning and intermediate oil painting, beginning and intermediate watercolor, beginning and advanced photography, scrapbooking, paper arts, fundamentals of design, drawing, stained glass, world art, beginning and advanced ceramics, crafts, beginning and intermediate jewelry, graphic design, photoshop and Outsider Art (folk art).
“I’m constantly looking for people who have innovative approaches to art and doing different types of art and trying to bring them into the college. Just this year we’ve added stained class, folk ar and paper grafts and gotten new instructors in ceramics and photoshop,” said Butterfield.
“So anyone who’s interested in art, certainly has the opportunity here.”