Get your creative thinking caps on! The mixed media art show “Lessons from Things” opens today at Davis Art Center’s Tsao Gallery. Open until Sept. 3, the exhibit is free to the public. An ArtAbout Reception will be held on Aug. 13 from 7 to 9 p.m., with a talk by the artists at 7:30.
Sara Post, the curator and mastermind of “Lessons from Things,” is very excited about the event.
“‘Lessons from Things’ is taken from a part of the French primary school curriculum which addresses objects, their history and development, the way they’re made, their uses – essentially, how objects exist in the world,” Post said. “It challenges artists to take those things into account in their work and to use their artwork as a filter for representing the life of objects.”
Post has been creating artwork of her own since 1981 and has degrees in studio art and art education. Often she works in her studio alongside her husband, fellow contributor Tomas Post. “More recently we have been making individual work in ceramics, printmaking, collage and photography from our home studios,” Post said.
Sixteen artists are featured in the exhibit. Their work is made up of materials from everyday objects like paper and watercolor to more intricate, concrete things like vases and lamps. Hannah Hunter, who has contributed a collage piece entitled “Still Life with Jug,” said she seeks inspiration from a variety of sources.
“I get my inspiration from the natural world; flowering oleanders and crepe myrtles, rows of sunflowers, furrows of rice fields off the causeway. I also love to study the patterns in architecture, in quilts and in words,” Hunter said. “The essence of all these observations is distilled in the form of a collage.”
An artist for the past 33 years and recipient of degrees in studio art and textiles, Hunter’s interests in art run deep. “Throughout my career as an artist, I’ve tried to blur the lines between the disciplines, or, another way to say it is that I try to find the area where the two media come together,” she said.
Marcia Cary contributed three unique pieces, including a watercolor painting entitled “Underwater Drama” and another piece made up of tangible materials such as plastic toys and flowers.
“My work stems from dreams that I have,” Cary said. “Sometimes I pick up junk along the road and use it. It was really different for me to work with but I ended up with a great piece to go in the show.”
Cary said she feels that making works of art is spiritually rewarding. It allows her to be didactic while showing her gratitude and thankfulness for being able to be involved in the craft.
For artist Jose Moreno, cartoons were one of the things that sparked his artistic interest. An influential teacher at Woodland High School pushed him to go further with his creative skills, which led him to the California College of the Arts, where he studied illustration, painting and drawing.
“I’ve been drawing since my childhood. In high school, my artwork became more professional-looking,” Moreno said.
Moreno contributed a print piece called “That Yellow Creep” to the exhibit. For him, it takes three to four days to complete one piece, and it’s often done in stages.
“I did an under-painting which is black and white, and then I added glazes which are transparent colors to give it a more realistic quality” Moreno said.
Moreno, Cary and Hunter hope that “Lessons from Things” will encourage other aspiring artists to work hard and not get discouraged if their work hasn’t been noticed yet.
“I hope to inspire other young artists and show them that there is a career in art,” Moreno said.
“Persistence, persistence, persistence. Very little happens overnight and real progress occurs over years. Never give up. Always believe that you have a unique voice, unlike any other person before you. Have the courage to believe in this voice,” Hunter said.
View “Lessons from Things” at the Davis Art Center’s Tsao Gallery, 1919 F St., Mondays through Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Sept. 3. For more information, call 756-4100 or go to davisartcenter.org.
LEA MURILLO can be reached at email@example.com.