SRJC Art: 100 years in the making

Claudia McCain poses with the students from her beginning, intermediate and advanced painting classes.

Adeira Sherpa, Staff Writer

A Santa Rosa Junior College centennial ceremony called, “100 Years in the Making,” went on display Jan. 31 at the Herold Mahoney Library Gallery on the Petaluma Campus.

The exhibit featured student paintings from instructor Claudia McCain’s beginning, intermediate and advanced classes, and provided an opportunity to meet some of the talented artists at SRJC.

McCain discussed how curator Sami Lange created a cohesive flow throughout the exhibition by threading together pieces based on composition, color and techniques used by the artists. Many of the pieces were inspired by an assignment where students created a collage and then developed an abstract painting based on it.

Each piece displayed lists the student’s name, the title of the work, media used and year created, with the majority coming from the Fall 2017 semester.

Carol Ruskin, who had three pieces in show, incorporated “weird landscapes,” which she saw in pieces of rusted metal.

Billie Settles, a friend of Ruskin, said it was interesting to see how different students approached the same assignment. She said she was able to watch the progression of Ruskin’s pieces throughout the semester.

Erica Stevens expressed her admiration for the work of her boyfriend, Jake Schempf, who is attending San Francisco Art Institute on a full-ride scholarship. “His work is my favorite in every show,” Stevens said. “I’m biased; our walls are covered with his work.”

Schempf’s piece is first on display in the gallery. Working on the Rivertown Revival inspired the grey background and rainbow splatters he uses. He then sanded off layers to show the backboard and bring the piece together.

Marguerite Gabe Braun used the recent fires as inspiration for one of her pieces. “I had fire very much on my mind,” Braun said. “It’s just kind of a feeling of the heat and the flames.”

Braun used a heavily red and orange palette in her abstract painting.

Axel Koenig, who incorporated 3D aspects into his piece by using a branch and paper plates, said, “I never finished it. I can work for another month on this piece.” This piece took Koenig over 60 hours to complete.

“Community” best describes the show. McCain explained that over the course of the three semesters the students grow together and learn from each other, regardless of their variation in style.

The “100 Years in the Making: Featured Paintings by Current SRJC Petaluma Art Students” exhibit will be on display through March 15 in the Herold Mahoney Library Gallery at the Petaluma Campus.