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Vargas Gallery’s Student Art Exhibit Shows the Best in Class

Vargas Gallery's Student Art Exhibit Shows the Best in Class

Noor Hamdan, a student in George Rivera’s Beginning Drawing class, wanted to draw something with her new Prisma pencils. Inspired by a Google image, she spent four to six hours using the pencils and black and white ink to fashion a chocolate cupcake with strawberry frosting and a raspberry on top. The finished product was “Cupcake,” a sweet tooth fantasy. “Cupcake” and about 60 other pieces of art are part of Vargas Gallery’s annual Student Art Exhibit that ran through May 16. (Vargas Gallery is located inside Mission College’s Gillmor Center.)

“Every year we do a show of work by students in art classes at Mission College; we have instructors pick the best quality work from each class,” said Lynne Todaro, art instructor and director of the Vargas Gallery. “This gives students the chance to experience having their work in a gallery–oftentimes, it’s their first art show. [Also] students in other art classes can see what’s possible.”

In Cheryl Coon’s Intermediate Drawing class, Santa Clara resident Mark Hoang used chalk and pastels on Bristol paper to create warm browns and reds against cooling greens in “Japonaiserie: Flowering Plum Tree (after Hiroshige).” His class assignment was to produce a master’s copy, which is a copy of an artist’s work.


“I chose Vincent van Gogh, my favorite artist,” Hoang said. “I remember reading about his exchange with Japanese art. I chose his ‘Flowering Plum Tree’ and I chose that piece because I’m very fond of Japanese culture. I made a copy and I tried to match the original artist’s techniques, such as van Gogh’s blending of colors. I wrote my own Japanese words. On the right side, I wrote, “This is pretty and beautiful.’ On the left, I put van Gogh’s name in Japanese.”

In Mark Engel’s Life Drawing class, the Santa Clara-born Shannon Gunderson used graphite and Conté crayon to sketch “Model from Yesterday.” Her image showed a woman with what could be both a wistful and worried expression. Fascinated by faces, Gunderson seeks out significant features in others’ faces.

“In my life drawing class, we draw from live models,” Gunderson said. “The model for this piece had a very bold look, a very strong look. Usually we draw the whole figure but we were studying the face. I couldn’t assign thoughts to her. She was a mystery.”

In Todaro’s Basic Design class, Rayna “Rooster” Faigen constructed a sculpture called “Lines Study.” It was made from all-threads (which Faigen described as bolts without heads) and double nuts to keep the structure standing. Simple and soothing to look at, the suspended lines joined together in a peaceful intersection.

“I used a double nut system, which locked the nuts into place; that’s how I got this to stand without the steel wire and I got that to balance on a granite countertop,” Faigen said. “I had all-threads left over from my first semester in woodworking and furniture design that my dad had mailed to me from the East Coast. I started playing with the all-threads and made this.”


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