“Cosmic Soup” and “Kimono Angel” Are Part of Vargas Gallery’s Inspirations and Collaborations
Story by Cynthia Cheng

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“Cosmic Soup” and “Kimono Angel” Are Part of Vargas Gallery’s Inspirations and Collaborations

A visual sip of “Cosmic Soup” conjures up two large circles and flickering lights on a screen that fills up an entire wall at Mission College’s Vargas Gallery. Dotti Cichon explained that her creation, made in collaboration with fellow artist Anitta Toivio, displays two maps of the Milky Way, one from thousands of years back and one of the present. Cichon added that the screen projects reflections on water, as water brought life to Earth, and the movement of the reflections of light is a reminder of mankind’s origins in the Cosmos. This is one of many pieces shown in Inspirations & Collaborations, a mixed media art exhibit at the gallery that launched with an opening reception on March 15.

“The purpose of this exhibit is to bring diverse artists into an exhibition where we each do very different work but have similar inspirations,” said Cichon, artist and exhibit curator. “We want to show the importance of being open to all kinds of things in the art world and letting wonderful things that happen around us inspire our work.”

Jamila Rufaro collaborated with Cichon to construct “Cooking the Books,” a display of 42 tiles featuring 3D altered book art with paper quilling and other intricate designs (by Rufaro) on 2D flat wood panels (by Cichon). Working side by side, Rufaro and Cichon also designed “Kimono Angel,” two notable long rolls of paper baring imprints of leaves.

“‘Kimono Angel’ was made from two 30 foot long rolls of paper; the first step was sawing the paper down to 12 inches a piece by width,” Rufaro said. “Then we had to unroll the paper to soak them in water with a chemical solution that would help the paper [absorb] the dye from leaves. We laid a roll of paper flat, put leaves on top, put the second roll of paper on top and rolled everything up so it looked like a pinwheel sandwich.”

Traveling from Portland, Oregon to attend the opening reception was artist Meredith Dalglish.

“I brought down part of my installation titled He/Art Moves and it is a [set of hanging sculptures] made from recycled materials,” Dalglish said. “The whole premise of He/Art Moves is to show the physical and emotional elements of the heart. These mixed media sculptures are at the windows of the gallery.”

With vibrant names such as “Sing/Dance/Sing” and “Triple Exclamation,” Dalglish’s collage-like sculptures were made from recycled materials such as fabrics, photographs, ceramic shards, fiber and what she referred to as “anything you can see to show the daily life of what it means to express heartfelt energies and feelings.”

In the near future, Dalglish will teach a local mixed media workshop to show how to create hanging sculptures using recycled materials. Email Meredith@merartstudio.com for more details. On April 15 from noon to 2 p.m., a closing reception for the exhibit will take place at the gallery.

The Vargas Gallery is located inside the Gillmor Center at Mission College. Mission College is located at 3000 Mission College Blvd.