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Educators featured in college exhibit

July 29, 2011|By Terri Martin

The definition of art has become so elastic since the early 20th century as to allow for alternatives within the traditional genres of painting, literature and sculpture, expressions which reflect contemporary environment and culture. The current exhibition in the Glendale Community College Art Gallery stretches classical techniques — drawing, intaglio printmaking, lost wax cast jewelry, encaustic painting, installation sculpture and artist books — to represent these 21st-century sensibilities.

The artists are all teaching professionals at Glendale Community College who wish to extend their examples and serve as a bridge between the college and the community. The gallery exhibits working and emerging local artists, with an emphasis on contemporary art.

The terms art and science have traditionally been used alongside one another in academic environments to distinguish between creative and empirical endeavors. The installation sculpture by Mark Gens, currently the Instructional Lab Tech in the Studio Arts Department at Glendale College, blurs the lines between those terms.

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Gens assembles a structure made of white Ikea furniture remnants, textured clear glass and orange latex paint. A flat white table top is hung like a canvas on a support system structured with two additional components. A large orange clip device (approximately 10 square inches) is sandwiched between the back of the table top and the whitewashed wall. The clip bites the vertical edge of a sheet of glass, suspending it about an inch off of the wall, as it rises to a height of 67 inches. The clip device floats the table top 6 inches off the wall, and disappears behind it, creating layers of space between the wall, glass and table top. The backside of the table top is painted orange, which reflects, along with the unseen orange clip, off of the white wall and through the glass.

The effect is a subtle orange glow from behind, which at first glance looks suspiciously electronic. Depth perception is challenged. The artist cleverly designs into the installation, a large empty space on the wall between the information placard and the sculpture, which begs the viewer to peek behind the table top and investigate the illusion. It is playful and very nearly a science experiment that toys with light, vision, perspective and curiosity of the psyche.

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