sanchez art center
Art Guild

West Wing Gallery

East Wing Gallery
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gallery hours


1 - 5

The galleries are open during intermissions:
Pacifica Performances


1220-B Linda Mar

Pacifica, CA 94044


fax 650.355.1752






Organic Matters

March 3 - April 8, 2006

Reception: March 3 from 7-9

Cameron Bishop

Michael Braida

Cynthia Kuhn

Shelley Monahan

Alexandra Ostroff

Ed Reilly

Chrystal Powell

José Daniel Rojales

Dax Santi

Michael Steinmetz

Jennifer Surprise

David Swanson

Sydney Brown Tarman

Curated by Cheryl Coon

Organic Matters

The students at the Academy of Art University’s Sculpture Department are committed artists who strive to create work with a strong conceptual focus that is supported by a fearless exploration of their materials. Peter Schifrin, Margaret Keelan, and Charlene Modena have established an environment where the students are both challenged and supported in their artistic endeavors. “Organic Matters” features work by sculptors who are using materials that embody, mimic, or appear to be aberrations of nature. Their work is fun to look at, and serious in its intent. The variety of their ideas and the richness of their textures reflect their growth as artists and their passion.

Cameron Bishop uses the quintessential form of Barbie’s legs to explore sex as economy and the exploitation of the female identity. Her installation of waxed legs covers the walls like a coral reef. Her porcelain ceramic eggs are fragile and their hollow mass production speaks volumes about reproduction and female forms.

Michael Braida’s kinetic sculptures re-invent biological creatures using robotics and technology. His work reflects on the frivolous industrial exploitation that wreaks havoc on the natural environment. His kinetic sharks simulate a swimming motion. They are mesmerizing and technologically poignant in today’s society of genetic manipulation.

Cynthia Kuhn’s “Strange Fruit” is a comical and inventive science-lab-run-amok installation of genetically engineered art. Her delightful flora? 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 phrenology installation appropriates the language of scientific display in a visually incisive look at the sometime laughable lengths that pseudo-sciences go to create the illusion of empirical knowledge. Her tongue-in-cheek and very phallic test tube forms penetrate the barrier between science and art. Her sensual materials, fur, latex, skin, hair, invite more than just a cursory scientific probing.

Alexandra Ostroff is relentless in pushing her materials and process to their malleable limits. Working intensely on a tightrope between the strength of steel and its hot fragility, she burns, excoriates, and pushes the material to its breaking point. The results are poetic juxtapositions with molten wax marking the exact time that the artist placed the sculpture in position. Her installations encapsulate a series of moments, each of the seconds spent in the studio manipulating the materials into their textural completion.

Chrystal Powell’s sexy and playful installations made with lipstick and hair, fetishize and celebrate feminist and feminine accoutrements. Her humorous and itchy installation of red-light-district-fishnet-stockings spiked with hair is both humorous and mildly repulsive. Her glamorous installation of hosiery oozing lipstick is so luscious it is visual seduction in the flesh.

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. 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 rich shadows, are remarkable considering the gritty process that goes into their construction.

Dan Rojales is an island boy at heart. His love of the ocean and the depths of its wonders are evident in his amber fossil-like sculptures that preserve aquatic creatures in resin. Floating through the resin are Dan’s sensuous letters to and from his girlfriend in Hawaii. The decaying and hooked fish express mysterious and complex emotions that fall away into the darkness of the sea.

Dax Santi uses humor as a pundit, creating satirical commentaries on socially ridiculous situations. His “Deep Sea Diver Doug” shows the idealized nuclear family man, father, husband, in a little over his head…

Michael Steinmetz’s parasites infiltrate and transform their surrounding environments into a jungle of biological forms. Intestinal strands wrap around and affix themselves. The surface textures are richly layered with translucent growths and pods that may contain embryonic Darwinist evolutions.

Jennifer Surprise experiments with fiber technologies that re-use societal waste, transforming banana peels into silk and coconuts and kiwis into beautiful fabrics. Like Rumpelstiltskin spinning straw into gold, or those using recycled soda bottles to make polar fleece outer wear, Jennifer’s experiments have the potential to change the fiber industry.

David Swanson creates elegant clay installations that explore archetypal textures and forms reflecting a natural cycle of growth and decay. His work resonates with an ancient and powerful presence that is both resilient and fragile, reflecting on our own cycles of life, death and the sensitive ability to recognize the beauty of it all.

Sydney Brown Tarman’s work is a complex look at the fine lines between empathy and co-dependency using domestic materials that evoke the emotional minefields of relationships. Crushed eggs, pills, blood, baby food, and placenta are embedded into her hearts, the way an infant absorbs the chemically stimulated emotions from her mother while still in the womb.