Art as an avenue of ‘irreverent’ expression

A look at the NCECA exhibit in the Visual Arts Gallery

IMG_9209The Visual Arts Gallery’s current exhibit is titled “Mixed Feelings: The Irreverent Object.”

If you’re like me, who didn’t know what the word irreverent meant, I’ll give you the definition: “showing a lack of respect for people or things that are generally taken seriously.”

I’m somewhat confused now that I saw a jar with Justin Bieber’s face plastered on it at the gallery. Is he a person who is generally taken seriously? Should we take Justin Bieber seriously? Maybe I don’t get the message.

All questioning aside, I was impressed with the work being shown. Almost all of the pieces are sculptural in nature, aside from two photographs in the exhibit of barbed wire. Each artist has showcased his or her own niche of personal aesthetic and style. There are intriguing and unique qualities between each section of work.

The pieces created by artist Shalene Valenzuela include the visual element of common household items such as rolling pins, a blender, and an iron. Several of the pieces had elements reminiscent of pop art with vibrant colors and visuals of beautiful 1950s women.

Other pieces that caught my attention were created by Dustin Yager, who seems to draw inspiration from current pop culture. His section had multiple cultural icons I recognized, from Bieber to care bears.

One complaint I do have is that the two pieces, titled “Untitled (We Need a Black Pope and She Better be a Woman)” and “Untitled (Mark My Words),” being showcased with mirrors behind them is that they are difficult to look at as a whole; I was twisting my head to try and read the inscribed words at the back of the vases. I couldn’t really read the text through the mirror because it was reflected as a flipped image. It’s possible the artist intended for it to be shown this way, but I would prefer to be able to see these two pieces away from the wall to appreciate them in their entirety.


Lauren Mayer’s work has an interesting composition of media, with a multitude of objects to create what looks like architectural pieces similar to a brick wall or wood flooring. I recommend you take a closer look at these pieces to pick apart just what these sculptures are composed of. I’d say it takes talent to successfully mesh all of these objects into a composed work.

Other artists whose work is featured in the Gallery include Stephanie DeArmond, Ron Geibel, Jennifer Ling Datchuk, Lauren Sandler, and Leslie Macklin.

This display at Mt. Hood is linked to the 51st Annual Convention of NCECA, the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts – this year’s theme is “Future Flux” – being held at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland March 22-25. More art will be exhibited in locations across the Portland area.

The MHCC artists’ reception for this lovely show will be hosted in the Gallery from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22.

The last day to view the show will be Thursday, March 30. I highly recommend going in and checking out these well-crafted pieces of art.

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