Great opportunity to enjoy great artwork

The first exhibit of the new academic year at the Arizona Western College Art Gallery featured paintings, ceramics and sketches by Fine Arts faculty, including Angel Luna, William Blomquist, Julie Floss, Mary Kuzma, and Brad Pease.

Fine Arts Professor William Blomquist, currently the Art Gallery director, said the Gallery was put together as a chance for people to get lost in their own moments.

“You look at artwork and it’s always about somebody’s own experience,” Blomquist said. “It’s pretty honest, pretty internal, but yet ambiguous.”

Blomquist laments, though, that most AWC students are missing out a great chance to appreciate art.

“We have an Art Gallery?” asked An Bui, an AWC student from Vietnam majoring in Exercise and Wellness asked.

Although the Gallery exhibits are consistently first rate, most students who visit are studying art themselves. The goal of the Gallery, though, is to have as many people coming in as possible.

“We want all the students on campus to come and have a look,” Blomquist said.

For Science or Business students, coming to the Gallery is a chance to be exposed to completely different ideas than what they normally encounter. Here, according to Blomquist, they can get perspectives that can be interesting food for thought. Sometimes it can be mind-expanding, and it can even change someone’s way of thinking.

The exhibit’s largest piece, Blomquist’s own “Wakka Wakka,” which he painted in 1992, is an ideal example of a mind-expanding piece. It is a figure of a girl enclosed within architectural right angles set against a colorful landscape, all in expressive brush work and wild colors.

“In a way it’s really abstract,” Blomquist said. “There’s a bit of realism.”

There is no story behind it, Blomquist continued. The story is different for everyone, according to the artist.

“It’s for me. It’s my play. If I have enough fun and some people look at it, they will have fun too. I think the fun is contiguous.”

Another interesting collection of art were the ceramic figures called “Angry White Guys in Ties,” by Professor Brad Pease, chair of the Fine Arts Division.

This display, which might be particularly interesting for Political Science majors, consists of male figures with various angry expressions.

“It represents white politicians, angry politicians,” Pease said.

The idea he wants to convey is that many white men feel they have something to lose, and they feel angry when all people are treated equally.

“The ties are because I see people in Washington wearing ties,” Pease said. “They are very formally dressed, and they are supposed to be protecting people’s rights. But they are breaking our laws by their unethical behavior, by racist treatment of people.”

The process involved in making the figures starts with building up clay, then “shaping it in whatever the shape the clay tells me to do,” said Pease, then letting it dry, bisquing it and finally dipping it in powdered glass and heating it up.

Like Pease’s figures, artwork can be a reflection of someone’s thoughts. It can be a story of none, like Blomquist’s painting. The possibility for art is endless, and it is up to the spectator to observe and feel the art.

The AWC Art Gallery is always occupied by artworks. Following the exhibit by AWC faculty was an exhibit of prints by artist Donna McDermott.

Students, staff members and community members alike should come by and get involved, says Blomquist.  After all, they might learn something interesting.

For more information, contact Brad Pease, Fine Arts division chair, at 928-344-7707, or William Blomquist, professor of Fine Arts, at 928-317-6060.

Photos courtesy of Brad Pease

Share this article