A gilded statue of a woman with stairwells and archways carved into her, an oil painting of a wilted sunflower and a salt photography print of a girl’s face were among the award winners at American River College’s annual student art show.
The James Kaneko Gallery held a full house at the show’s opening reception Tuesday afternoon to honor those who had their art chosen for the show, and to announce the winners of the show as chosen by Natalie Nelson, the show’s juror.
Nelson is the director and curator of the Pence Gallery in Davis, California, and judged over 100 entries for the student competition.
There were about 60 pieces total chosen for the show that are currently being displayed in the Kaneko Gallery and the library stairwell. These were selected out of the “well over 100 pieces submitted,” according to Kaneko Gallery director Patricia Wood.
This year marks Wood’s first annual student show, as it is her first year directing the gallery. The show will run through May 11.
Nelson was not available to present the awards, but Wood read from a note Nelson sent to the gallery regarding the show.
“Making art takes dedication, but exhibiting it in a public setting, or even in front of ones fellow students, takes courage,” said the note from Nelson, as read by Wood. “All the students who created art to be juried for this exhibit deserve commendation. The artwork submitted to the annual American River student exhibit demonstrated a deep engagement with the materials in order to convey a clear message.”
The show’s top award, Best in Show, went to Raad Shamoon for his golden statue of a woman, hollow in the center and intricately carved to create architecture that included arches, stairs, windows and doorways. The piece was titled “Civilization Restrictions.”
First place went to Andrea Arnott for her oil painting of a dying sunflower, reminiscent of Vincent Van Gogh’s famous sunflowers, titled “After Vincent.”
Second place went to Arieal Sudds for her salt print of a girl lying amongst flowers titled “Peaceful Solitude.”
“I feel great. I feel very strong about my work now,” Sudds said of her win. “Less confidence at first … now I feel like maybe this is something I can continue to work with more and become more of an artist.”
Third place went to David Rohner for his pen composition heavily featuring crosses and torsos with severed arms, titled “Technological Terror: “god”.”
“I had entered an art piece two years ago and it won, but I wasn’t here,” Rohner said. “So I come in and it’s actually a better experience, it actually decreases my depression a little bit.”
Also awarded were the Ken Magri purchase awards. ARC art professor Ken Magri has funded these awards annually with the help of his students and buys student art to add to ARC’s permanent collection.
“(This year) I wanted two works, not just one,” Magri said. “The students are making the primary donation, they funded this. … You can say on your resume that you’re showing in a college collection with Andy Warhols.”
Winners of the Magri awards were Millissa Saddler for her watercolor portrait “Coffee” and Andrea Arnott for her oil on wood painting “Storm in My Head.”
Sudds said she believes the student show is a great opportunity for ARC students.
“I think the student show is a very valuable thing for the students, because they get to experience showing their work, first of all, and pricing it, and all that,” Sudds said. “Galleries want a lot of more noted things, whereas the student show, it helps the student get to know a gallery.”
Rohner elaborated on the inspiration for his work, citing artist H.M. Geiger and a Japanese horror film.
“What inspires my art, what I use for templates is a movie called ‘Tetsuo the Iron Man.’ It’s a Japanese movie about a guy who finds his body turning into metal, and he becomes abstract. That would be one of my templates because the movie, not only in its art direction, but also in its intensity and the way it’s filmed, and that’s kind of how I wanted my pieces to come out is intense,” said Rohner.
Christl Clinton, ARC student and photography major, had her silver gelatin print “Crossing Over” featured in the show.
“I love the student shows because there’s so much variety. We’re a little community college, but you look around and see so much talent,” said Clinton.