James Kaneko Gallery exhibit opens to warm reception

Students and faculty attend an even at the James Koneko Gallery

What do burgers, wood and string have in common? They are all starring in an art show debuting at American River College’s Kaneko Gallery. Artist Mick Sheldon and sculptor Craig Martinez have featured works on display. The two different collections, “Burger Worker” by Mick Sheldon and “Wood and String” by Craig Martinez, complement each other as Martinez’s sculptures are surrounded by the paintings by Sheldon. As you enter the gallery, the striking difference between the two artists’ works is very apparent yet they add strength and depth to the exhibit.

The opening reception held on Valentine’s Day was well attended.­ ARC’s President David Viar was one of the first people to arrive. He spoke of the importance of the Kaneko Gallery to both the campus and the students. “The gallery is a great opportunity for our students and the community as well as our faculty and staff, to be exposed to art that they would not normally be exposed to, and to really understand the value that art brings to help us think, causing us to enjoy and causing us to be challenged,” said Viar.

Each artist was invited to share some insight into his works. Martinez stated that his “sculptures are cuts, scratches and mismatched pieces piled upon each other. The sum total is a piece of art that I hope is unique and beautiful.” He continued to explain that he sees the process as a metaphor for scar tissue – a product of healing in major wounds. “I believe in redemption,” said Martinez.

Sheldon explained how for the last two years he painted the memories of his time spent in the drive-in, walk-in and sit-down burger joints of his youth. He used exclusively the colors raw umber, Mars black and titanium white with smaller patches of bright colors to bounce hither and yon. He said of these colors; “They give a lovely reflection of Van Dyke and Reubens.”

As you contemplate each painting, you are drawn into your own memory of those first jobs that you may have held. For me, the memories of cleaning the fryers were very vivid as I looked upon “Cleaned the Fryer” and enjoyed Sheldon’s rendition of cleaning the same.

Martinez’s sculpture “The Land Mine” is a very poignant reminder of the remnants of war “mines and mine fields,” where hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women, children and animals are maimed and/or killed each year.

The Kaneko Gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Spend a few minutes of your valuable time and reflect upon the art that is on display.

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