For most of next month, the walls of 10 West Gallery will be adorned by not only the works of its member artists, but also pieces by ten local college students in the first of a planned annual exhibit. Appropriately titled Fresh, the exhibition’s inaugural run will showcase artworks of various media by five students from Westmont College, three from UCSB, and two from SBCC, providing many of them their first ever opportunity displaying work in a professional gallery.
When the exhibition opens on March 4, displaying student pieces beside those of 10 West’s seasoned professionals will fulfill a long held goal of the gallery, according to director Jan Ziegler.
“We’ve always wanted to have more student work in here, but we didn’t really know how to go about it, so we were brainstorming and came up with this idea to have a competition, which is really more like a showcase, it isn’t so much of a contest,” she told the News-Press.
To make this happen, Ms. Ziegler and a few of 10 West’s member artists got in contact with art professors at the three participating institutions, who accepted work from students interested in showcasing their art and then curated the submissions with Ms. Ziegler. As they prepare their pieces for display alongside the work of those who create art for a living and write artist bios demanded by professional art shows, the students will learn about various aspects of being a professional artist.
“I think it’s really going to be a good experience for them. It already has been because when you’re in art school you don’t really learn that much about the professional side of exhibiting. So this is a good exercise for them to prepare their work, frame it, or be ready to present it in a gallery that looks good with other professional artwork,” Ms. Ziegler said.
Beyond showing the students the preparatory work that is part and parcel of being a professional, the exhibit’s opening reception on March 5 will also give them a chance to intermingle with 10 West’s professional artists and get to know art students at schools other than their own.
“This is a really good community building effort,” Ms. Ziegler remarked.
While many of the participating students have displayed their artwork in exhibitions on their school campuses, Fresh will mark several gallery debuts. Westmont senior Jordan Marshall decided to make hers with “1946” an oil painting of cows on a dairy farm her family used to operate in Reedley, CA and ceased operating when she was around the age of two. According to Ms. Marshall, her painting is based on a decades-old photograph that she found of her family’s dairy.
“I actually discovered a bunch of my family’s old photos a couple of years ago… My family has a rich agricultural history and I wanted to interpret it through the lens of their experience and all of the generations that went before them,” she said.
Works featured in Fresh will run the gamut, as UCSB senior and art honors student Davey Groke’s submission is a pendulum swing away from Ms. Marshall’s representational painting. An abstract painter who has developed his own “taping” painting method, he will be showcasing “Octopus,” named for a comment he received on instagram from a family friend who thought the painting’s color resembled an octopus photographed by National Geographic. Once he saw the coincidental similarity for himself, Mr. Groke decided that “Octopus” was a fun name.
He stated, “My work is non-representational, so I’m not actively seeking a real-world comparison when I’m making it, but when I get to the title I’m kind of indifferent, so I can have fun with it.”
The common refrain many of the participating art students gave the News-Press for why they submitted to 10 West was unsurprisingly to get more experience exhibiting, but Westmont senior Alyssa Beccue unlike many of her fellow student artists has displayed her work in galleries before through her membership in the Santa Barbara Art Association. However, it did mark a different first for her.
“This was the first time that I decided to frame my work. A lot of the stuff I’ve done before was either digital or something that could stand on its own, so I think the most unusual part of this was finding a frame,” she said.
Still, though comparatively a veteran when it comes to exhibiting, Ms. Beccue’s reasons for participating in Fresh are just the same as any of the newcomers.
“It just seemed like a really good opportunity to be in a group show and get my work out there,” she said.
Fresh opens at 10 West Gallery on March 4 and runs until March 30, with a reception on March 5 that runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. 10 West Gallery is located at 10 W Anapamu St.