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Sculpture Student Work on Display at Sanchez Center

The Sanchez Art Center is currently showing an exhibition of artwork by students from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. "Organic Matters" was curated by Cheryl Coon and features work by Cameron Bishop, Michael Braida, Cynthia Kuhn, Shelley Monahan, Alexandra Ostroff, Chrystal Powell, Ed Reilly, Jos Daniel Rojales, Dax Santi, Michael Steinmetz, Jennifer Surprise, David Swanson, and Sydney Brown Tarman...

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The following story, "What's New at Sanchez Art Center," was originally published in the Pacifica Tribune and is republished with their permission:

The Sanchez Art Center is currently showing an exhibition of artwork by students from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. "Organic Matters" was curated by Cheryl Coon and features work by Cameron Bishop, Michael Braida, Cynthia Kuhn, Shelley Monahan, Alexandra Ostroff, Chrystal Powell, Ed Reilly, Jos Daniel Rojales, Dax Santi, Michael Steinmetz, Jennifer Surprise, David Swanson, and Sydney Brown Tarman. The sculpture department, led by Peter Schifrin, Margaret Keelan, and Charlene Modena, supports and challenges these students to create work that explores conceptual, material and process-oriented sculpture.

These emerging sculptors use materials that embody or mimic nature and their current work shows a variety of investigations that are often complex, elegant and humorous. The "Strange Fruit" installation by Cynthia Kuhn is a comical and inventive science-lab-run-amok display of genetically engineered art objects.


Cynthia Kuhn

Her delightful flora and fauna permutations are both alien and abstractly familiar, reminiscent of minute creatures that scurry for safety in the tide pools along the coast.

Shelley Monahan's work also draws on pseudo-science for inspiration. Her piece titled "Test Tubes" explores phrenology and appropriates the language of scientific display.


Shelley Monahan

The hanging installation of her overtly phallic test tube forms is juxtaposed with phrenology phrases such as "dichtergeist: poetic talent" and "zeugungstrieb: impulse to propagation" creating a tongue-in-cheek look at clinical methodology.

Sydney Brown Tarman's work is a complex exploration of the fine lines between empathy and co-dependency.


Sydney Brown Tarman

Her sculptural hearts are embedded with crushed eggs, pills, wax, wire, bandages and other domestic materials that evoke the emotional minefields of relationships.

Cameron Bishop uses the quintessential form of Barbie's legs to explore sex as economy and the exploitation of the female identity.


Cameron Bishop

Her installation of waxed legs covers the walls like a coral reef.

Jennifer Surprise experiments with fiber technologies that re-use societal waste, transforming banana peels into silk and coconuts and kiwis into beautiful fabrics.


Jennifer Surprise

Chrystal Powell's sexy and playful installations, made with lipstick and hair, fetishize and celebrate feminine adornments.


Chrystal Powell

One of her installations is a humorous and itchy display of red-light-district fishnet stockings spiked with hair. Her other wall installation shows a line of glamorous nylons oozing lipstick. The bulbous forms hang from the wall on spikes, so that the nylons swing back and forth gently kissing the wall, making puckered lipstick marks in pinks and reds.

Michael Steinmetz's "Parasite" transforms the surrounding environment into a jungle of biological forms.


Michael Steinmetz

Richly textured, waxed pods and vines wrap around and affix themselves to the walls.

David Swanson created two clay installations that explore archetypal textures and forms reflecting a natural cycle of growth and decay.


David Swanson

"Nebula" is a raku clay installation that resonates with an ancient and powerful presence, with charred clay forming a spine or ridge that appears ancient and fragile. "Assembly" uses dried, cracked clay, showing the process of time and reflecting on our own cycles of life and death.

Ed Reilly's steel wire sculptural forms are the manifestations of an intense physical struggle with the materials. Ed uses the exact width of his arm span and height to measure hundreds of yards of wire before beginning an almost overwhelming battle to shape the wire into a graceful and organic structure.


Ed Reilly

His process is a personal and conceptual performance in which the artist's own body is the tool through which the sculpture is formed. The lightness and grace of his wall sculptures, with their airy negative spaces and dynamic shadows, are remarkable considering the gritty process that goes into their construction.

Alexandra Ostroff's work is also part performance as she works with the strength of hot metal and the fragility of wax, she burns, excoriates, and pushes the materials to their breaking point.


Alexandra Ostroff

In her installation, she combines molten bronze with wax to create a series of objects that capture the moment in time when the two materials are fused together. Working with an elegance using such minimal materials, the work reveals her artistic process.

Michael Braida creates kinetic sculptures that re-invent biological creatures using robotics and technology. His work reflects on the frivolous industrial exploitation that wreaks havoc on the natural environment.


Michael Braida

His installation shows an oil-slicked cormorant contained within an industrial barrel with a menacing propeller hovering above the bird's head.

The steel and resin sculptures by Dan Rojales, who is from Hawaii, show his love of the ocean. His steel structures are joined with amber fossil-like forms that preserve fish and squid in resin.


Dan Rojales

In "Transmission" the fish are floating in a deep red resin alongside Dan's love letters to and from his girlfriend in Hawaii.

Dax Santi also presents an ocean installation in a glass aquarium display case. His humorous investigation of his alter-ego "Deep Sea Diver Doug" shows the idealized nuclear family man, father, husband, going about his business with briefcase, all while wearing the protective outer wear of a metal deep sea diving suit.


Dax Santi

Alongside the aquarium case is a sound loop of the other students in the exhibition making underwater bubble noises.

Other exhibitions at the art center include "Anything Goes" with artwork by members of the Art Guild of Pacifica, and "Pixels and Paint" featuring photography and paintings by Susan and June Felter. All of the exhibitions will be on view through April 8. The Pacifica Center for the Arts is located at 1220 Linda Mar Boulevard. Gallery hours are 1-5, Friday, Saturday & Sunday.

For more information about the Fine Art - Sculpture program, please view the Fine Art program pages.

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