Outside Mission College’s Vargas Gallery, located at the Gillmor Center, were parmesan cheese wheels, mini cabbage strudels, chocolate chip cookies and mint honey ice tea. The refreshments welcomed guests at the opening reception for the Art Faculty Exhibition which showcased about 20 pieces of art. The exhibit runs until March 8.
“The purpose of this event is to display the artwork of the Mission College art faculty,” said Lynne Todaro, art instructor and director of the Vargas Gallery. “We want to show the art work that we do when we are in our own studios. There are a variety of different media here, including sculpture, print making, and ceramics, such as the ceramics of Manuel Magallon.”
Cheryl Coon, who teaches ceramics and drawing, displayed “Untitled” a bristly bush-like sculpture made from steel and 100,000 black zip ties.
“I like looking at science books, especially biology books and things you’d see under a microscope,” said Coon. “These abstract forms are things reminiscent of diatoms, which are microscopic creatures. This piece is not necessarily a diatom but an abstraction of a microscopic creature. I call it ‘Untitled’ so when the audience comes, they can use their imagination to interpret what this is.”
Matthew Warner-Davies, who teaches drawing, showed three burned book sculptures, which at first glance, resembled smooth rectangular rocks. One burned book was dedicated to Whistleblowers, the other to William Wilberforce (an English politician who advocated against slavery), and the third, to the solitary person. Warner-Davies recognized the different histories of real book burnings and the trauma behind them.
“These burned books are a commentary on censorship, the way ideas are burned out of intellectual circles through censorship and blackballing,” said Warner-Davies. “Three different books have been burned in a mold and the ash, I preserved with a casting resin into the mold…So what’s here is basically a copy of the book with the ashes captured in the resin.”
Former art instructor Manuel Magallon was recognized during the evening. Glowing with a smooth luster were his high fire stoneware, which included “Black on Black,” “Light Jade Green” and “Blue Sky Crystals.” Teresa Magallon accepted a plaque on behalf of her father, who was unable to attend.
“My father was one of the founding faculty members of Mission College,” Teresa Magallon said. “He helped start the Art Department. He taught ceramics, drawing and graphic design at Mission College for about 45 years. I am so proud of my father and I know he is so honored to be recognized tonight. I think my father wants people to appreciate the arts in general. His passion is glazing and creating beautiful shapes and textures and beautiful art pieces.”
“…An instructor must understand that students learn in many different ways, and must approach each student individually,” said Manuel Magallon in a short biography from Mission College. “And I never stop learning from my students, which helps me become a better instructor.”