Mission College’s Vargas Gallery Shows Silicon Valley Small Art
By Cynthia Cheng
“The inspiration is life energy and transformation,” says artist Beth Shields. “Even though they’re all epiphanies, which is a word that means something that comes to you from nowhere, each piece is about transformation.”
For Shields, bursts of epiphany can be contained within a trio of small square paintings depicting splashes of bright and contrasting colors against a black cosmic backdrop. Small art, such as Shields’s, is the common thread among exhibits of the Silicon Valley Small Art exhibit held at Mission College’s Vargas Gallery from Dec. 1- 19. Shields was one of the 13 participating professional artists who attended the opening reception on Dec. 2.
“It’s holiday season and a lot of galleries do small art shows now, so people who are interested in looking for gifts that are unique and special can find something in a size they can gift wrap,” says Lynne Todaro, gallery director. “Most pieces here are for sale, though one or two pieces are not. There are prices for many different budgets. There is no theme, except the work has to be 12 by 12 inches or smaller.”
Lynette Cook shows her appreciation of everyday sights in her three paintings.
“These scenes were done when I was interested in the 49-Mile Scenic Drive in San Francisco,” says Cook, pointing out her paintings. “In ‘I Can See Forever” is an image of a seagull near Lake Merced. In ‘It’s Always Time for Peace’ is a statue of Ghandi near the ferry building. ‘City Geometry’ shows a section of buildings along the Embarcadero.
Tom Yacoe describes the style of his paintings as both expressionistic and impressionistic. His featured pieces are “Russian River,” “Sierra Runoff” and “Seaside Looking South.”
“This is my vision of how California looked before humans lived here,” Yacoe says. “I call them pristine landscapes because they have nothing of human origin in them. So you won’t see a road or fence or building in them.”
Not all the exhibiting artists showed paintings. Carmen Martinez and her husband, Reynold A. Martinez showed their hand-crafted jewelry sat in a display case. The couple sells their carvings and jewelry at rock and gem shows and also participates in Silicon Valley Open Studios.
“My husband and I worked on this carving together,” Carmen Martinez says. “This rock here is agate, not jade. It’s a bunch of grapes with 14 karat gold. The carving is the centerpiece and the metal holds it in place. A lot of my husband’s carvings are fluid and organic. There are a lot of swirls and movement and they are not very geometric. I do a lot of things in lost wax. What happens is the wax gets burnt out and is replaced by metal.”