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See the wild world of artistic variety at TCC student art show

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There is still a little time left to get to the Art Gallery at Tacoma Community College and view the “2016 Student Art Exhibition.” The show is a big, tasty sampler of the wide variety of artwork that was produced by students that have circulated through TCC’s visual arts courses during the past year. The school’s art department offers classes in drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, graphic design, sculpture and ceramics. What follows is a quickie tour of some of the show’s greatest hits.

Among many examples of drawings, done in a variety of media, is Evan Sbory’s ink close-up of the face of a dog. Kyungbin Moon has a skilled hand and has contributed several noteworthy drawings like “Pont du Gard,” a delicate, color pencil drawing of Roman aqueducts and “Luscious Seattle,” a picture of the Seattle skyline at night with a cupcake in the extreme foreground. Julia Bakke’s crazy ink drawing, “Pineapple” features an unlikely cast of characters all done in a variety of pictorial styles. A panda is placing the titular pineapple atop a suit of armor to function as a head. A cluster of penguins stands at the feet of the pineapple-knight. A gnomish man bursts onto the scene riding astride a leaping fawn; he clings desperately to the fawn’s big ears.

Among the painters, Jonathan Flemmer grabs scads of attention with his “Self Portrait in the Style of an Icon.” Here, the brash artist depicts himself life sized on a golden, gilded panel. He is dressed in silken robes like a biblical figure. Instead of a holy book, Flemmer pictures himself gazing at a tome called “The Big Butt Book,” with a goofy expression on his face.

Another great painter is Denise Levine, whose acrylic painting of sliced jalapeno peppers is done with crisp precision. The same clarity of line and feel for design is present in Levine’s relief print “Beached Boat,” a scene of a rowboat on the textured sand of a beach.

It is the printmaking students of instructor Marit Berg’s classes that generally produce some of the most interesting work in the TCC student shows. This one is no exception. In addition the Levine print, there are beautiful little things like Alissa McCormick’s “Family,” an etching showing a feral girl in cozy comfort with wolves. Jonathan Buchholtz produces an eye-catching image of a proud deer.

The gallery walls are full of work by artists working in the digital realm. Johanna Breme’s digital paintings, “Interstellar Self Portrait” and “Its Painful, Mother” are richly made images. The former presents the artist as if she has stepped out of a Japanese science fiction cinematic animation. The latter is a surreal thing that seems part portrait and part x-ray.

In the world of photography, the show runs the gamut from low tech to high. At the low end of the spectrum is a thing from Kyle Dillehay’s photo class: a giant, blue and white cyanotype that captures silhouettes of people, wheels, leaves and garden tools. There are poetic images like Reilly Gahm’s “Boathouse” and Biyao Chen’s “Experiment, Trees on Fire,” which is an eerie image of dark trees digitally enhanced so that they are edged in a red glow. Brookelynn Hiatt’s “Symmetry/Woods,” is a blending of cultural motifs. A young, blonde woman is seated like a guru in a forest setting. She has the multiple arms of a Hindu goddess and is seated on a Mexican blanket whose colors show up brilliantly against the green background.

One wall of the gallery is dedicated to examples of work by the graphic design students. There are various ideas for movie posters as well as samples of signage for the art exhibition, some of which were made into postcards and banners used to promote the show.

Instructor Dillehay’s sculpture students have been busy, using all manner of materials to make things in sync with Dillehay’s freewheeling, use-everything-including-the-kitchen-sink philosophy of 3-D design. The most interesting (and least jarring) is the aforementioned Flemmer’s “Suburbia.” This piece consists of a series of small house-shapes (not unlike the little green plastic houses used for the game Monopoly, but these are more the size of a good throwing stone) lined up on pieces of tree bark.

Jeanette Otis makes use of a medium called hydrostone to make stylistic, geometric figures that collectively go by the title “Shapes and Textures.”

The potters and ceramic artists of TCC’s illustrious and storied ceramic arts department are well represented on a series of pedestals clustered in the center. This motley crew has produced everything from skittering, long-tailed critters and miniature buildings to traditional trays and vessels done in a variety of glazing and firing techniques. Margaret C. Kalton’s “Clam Teapot” looks as if it is ready to spout seawater from its extended appendage.

The 2016 TCC Student Exhibition,” has plenty to see, but you only have till June 10 before the show ends. For further information visit www.tacomacc.edu/campuslife/thegallery or call (253) 460-4306.

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