Kaneko features work from ARC professors


Craig Smith speaks about his artwork at the reception for the fall faculty art show at the James Kaneko Art Gallery American River College on Sept. 4, 2019. (Photo by Colin Bartley)

Colin Bartley

The James Kaneko Art Gallery hosted its annual fall faculty exhibit reception on Sept. 4, showcasing a variety of unique pieces from American River College art professors.

Pieces by fine arts professor Laura Parker and art history professor Craig Smith were on display; art professor Valerie Constantino also performed an interactive piece at the reception. The exhibit will run through Sept. 19.

The centerpiece for this exhibit is “Tree Shrine” by Parker, which is an interactive sculpture that invites viewers to decorate small plaques and hang them on the shrine. The shrine itself was actually made from a tree that was removed from Parker’s garden, drawing inspiration from Japanese, Shinto and Buddhist culture, according to a sign next to the piece.

“Double Trees and Green Arrows with Red and Black Spots” is another piece on display from Smith. Smith cited inspiration from a blend of Japanese and southwest Native American sculptures.

 “I got ideas about designing surfaces, stole stuff from Japanese artists, from southwest Native American artists, from the American arts and crafts movement,” Smith said.

Art history professor Thomas Powell also has a piece in the show,  titled “My First Acid Trip,” which blends the mediums of aerosol and sculpture into a surrealist autobiographical piece. 

“You never start with some preconceived idea; you have to see what comes out of it,” Powell said. ”So that’s what emerged as I was making the painting; that’s what the massage became to me.”

On the opposite wall is a series of self portraits by art professor Betty Nelson. The Graphite portraits are divided by her other piece “#18 Process,” which is a booklet of her work.

Gallery director Patricia Wood showcases artwork at the James Kaneko Art Gallery American River College on Sept. 4, 2019. (Photo by Colin Bartley)

Art major Kaitlyn Berry attended the reception and spent time exploring the exhibit.

“I’ve taken classes with at least four or five of the teachers in there so it was really cool getting to see their work,” Berry said.

Kaneko Art Gallery Director Patricia Wood said that the exhibits are well put together by the artists. 

“What’s really interesting about the show is that people don’t always bring what you think they’re going to bring,” said Wood. “The point of it is to introduce students in the greater community to what we do because a lot of the time you don’t see what we do, you just see what we teach.”

The fall faculty exhibit runs through Sep. 19 at the Kaneko Gallery. The gallery is open from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Friday and is closed Saturday and Sunday.