Local sampler
Exhibition of area Hispanic artists varied

EVAN GILLESPIE
Tribune Correspondent


GOSHEN -- An exhibition of art by local artists at Goshen College's Good Library Gallery hopes to draw people to campus -- people who might not otherwise come to the small college -- and, while they're there, expose them to the artistic activity of the area's rapidly growing Hispanic population. The exhibited artists took part in this summer's "Nuestras Artes: Semana Cultural 07," a week-long cultural event staged in conjunction with Nueva Identidad de Vida, a local Hispanic youth group that offered visual arts classes throughout the summer.

 

The show encompasses a wide range of media, from photography and digital images to painting, pottery and sculptural installations.

Fans of outsider art will find lots of exuberant, unpretentious work here: bright watercolors done by children, fantastic paintings of unicorns and dolphins, landscapes decked out in Thomas Kinkade-style light and color.

At the other end of the spectrum of artistic polish is a collection of well-crafted photography. Some of the subjects are commercial -- babies, weddings, interior decoration, landscape (Ron Geyer's photo of the St. Joseph lighthouse in a storm is striking) -- and some are personal.The work of Axel Hernandez is sharp and graphic; "Beetle" depicts a brilliantly colored Volkswagen emerging from shadow, and "My Passion" is an ode to a man and his guitar.

Michaela Potterbaum's photos of girls are nicely composed and introspective.

The digital manipulations of Alma Delia Gomez begin with a portrait photo which is then distorted with vivid colors and strokes like sloppy, wet paint.

The show includes some serious fine art, as well.

Francisco Avila contributes paintings -- "Fermentation," for example, in which yellow circles on a rust-colored background suggest cells with bright red nuclei -- and a fabric sculpture called "Life Cycle"; the piece's complex iconography is explained in an adjoining text panel.Yizzar Prieto displays a facility with numerous media; a photo of leaves, rich in flat pure color, looks much like a silk-screen print, while a charcoal-and-graphite drawing of a dream-like landscape is subtle in its restrained use of color. Prieto also exhibits other photographs and an installation of ceramic bowls resting on trapezoidal wooden panels; the pieces, which are exhibited at ankle level, are decorated in browns, greens and ochers -- an earthy palette that contrasts with the work's smooth textures.

Other pottery in the show is diverse in its style.

Christina Chavez makes pieces inscribed with curlicues, patterns, organic forms and pictographic symbols. Monica Montiel makes a political statement with a figure of the cartoon mouse Speedy Gonzales, holding a sign that reads "Tacos Wanted." Esther Guedea crafts fantastic creatures -- a mythical harpy and a rearing dragon's head -- which are adorned with festive colors.

The exhibition is perhaps not ideally located for a show that wants to present its art to a wide audience. The gallery is tucked into a corner of the library's basement; it is accessible but not very visible. The exhibition's goal is noble, however, and one hopes that visitors to Goshen College will take the time to seek out this modest bit of cultural outreach.

 

“Nuestras Artes: Visual Arts" continues through Oct. 12 at The Goshen College Good Library Gallery at Goshen College. Admission is free. Hours are 7:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Fridays, noon-6 p.m. Saturdays and 1-11 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call (574) 535-7427 or visit the Web site www.goshen.edu