NANCY MOYER | SPECIAL TO THE MONITOR

This year’s South Texas College“Art Faculty Exhibition” showcases 20 artists, all of whom demonstrate distinct and personal points of view. Participation was limited to a single work per artist, although two small installations have parts that could easily stand alone.

Isai Mireles, Alex Comminos, Luis Corpus and Eduardo Quintero show together in the gallery’s entrance space. Mireles and Corpus show bold, colorful, paintings that have the flavor of the commercial world; Mire-les embraces athletic shoes, while Corpus’ painting is reminiscent of vintage travel posters. Comminos and Quintero seem more focused on exploring their medium.

Walking into the large gallery, one feels a sense of quietude. Most of the works are of modest scale and represent ongoing concerns. Two oversized wall pieces by G Nathan England and David Freeman are positioned at opposing ends of the gallery and seem disconnected from the crowd of otherwise rationally tempered pieces. Facing each other they are visually the loudest artworks in the room, producing silent screams while the other works wait patiently for attention.

England’s large canvas, “Kangoroo Court,” shows a buff male manikin-in-charge disjointedly presenting to a jury of three men; the skeletal defendants are either dead or soon will be. Freeman’s installation, “The Worst of Both Worlds,” is the strongest of his rug paintings so far and includes a stuffed turkey perched in front of the painting. The phrases “I’m Sane” and “God is Not Here” appear to be reacting to the social message on the opposite wall.

There are numerous ideas to peruse in this exhibition. Rachael Brown offers a witty take on recycling with her 3-D wall piece, “Zen Rolls,” constructed of cardboard toilet paper rolls. Commenting on the development of the piece, Brown said, “That is a year’s worth of collecting; it’s the passage of time.”

Tom Matthews departed from his sculptural identity with three acrylic on canvas multiples. Ambivalent in meaning, with white trapezoids interrupting narrow spaces, they have an Art Deco feeling about them. Each contains a pair of trapezoids containing a pair of small separately toned arcs.

“I’m referring to Zen and Yin and Yang amid things of that nature,” Matthews said, “so you can take it however you want. To me they’re little shapes that represent a human being. Maybe, maybe not.”

Phyllis Leverich continues her medical series on an aesthetically pleasing, but depressing psychological note with her encaustic, “The Emptiness was Profound.” This work also has an oddly erotic quality to it.

Chris Leonard’s “Installationette? You Bet. Double Art of the Dealing. Purring and Puffing, is he thinking of nothing? Puffing and Purring, is his conscience now stirring?” contains a ceramic and two watercolors. Not only does he include two separate art forms, but two separate concepts that he wills together through sheer artistry in this inventive work. His favorite feline motif appears as a defiant smoker.

All the works in this show are worth seeing, although several never make it past the stage of décor. There are a few studies, landscapes and attempts at cutting-edge ideas. Mostly, the art is good but lacks exhibition excitement. Considering that this is a community college, these artists have limited time to produce their own art, yet their output reflects high professional standards. This is an impressive faculty.

Nancy Moyer, Professor Emerita of art the University of Rio Grande Valley, is an art critic for The Monitor. She may be reached at nmoyer@rg.rr.com.