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A multi-sensory event

'Brand New Rocking Relic' by Christine Fincke at the Art at the San Luis Obispo Museum.  Photo by Jayson Mellom  08-27-11
'Brand New Rocking Relic' by Christine Fincke at the Art at the San Luis Obispo Museum. Photo by Jayson Mellom 08-27-11 The Tribune

The sculpture show at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art appeals to multiple senses, including the fact it looks good enough to eat.

In fact, the third-place winner is edible: a chandelier formed of Gummy Bears, by Glendale artist Yaya Chou.

“Sculpture Slam,” the semi-annual exhibit through the Central Coast Sculptor Club, was open to sculptors statewide. Of nearly 300 entries, juror Charles Arnoldi of Venice Beach selected 65 works by 45 artists, 10 of whom are from this county.

There’s a playfulness to many of the entries, including the secondplace winner “Brand New Rocking Relic” by Christine Fincke of Oceano.

“I wanted to do something completely different,” she said. When her Cuesta College sculpture instructor Barry Frantz questioned her intent, she replied: “I just want to try and capture infinity.” He laughed, as that seems to be the goal of most of the sculptors he knows. “What I ended up with is nothing very infinity looking,” Fincke said.

She used the lost-wax technique to create the bronze piece at Cuesta’s foundry, under Randall Johnson’s tutelage.

A former jewelry maker, Fincke was artist in resident in metal at the University of Georgia in Cortona, Italy, in the mid-1990s.

The sole honorable mention went to long-time San Luis Obispo resident Henry Wessels for his leather, wood and bronze figure. “It’s just a very quirky and an offstyle for me, but I had great fun recalling teenage years” he said of his “Merde-Face Intoxicante.” Wessels said that many of his works have a humorous bent that doesn’t always shine through, but he’s currently working on a serious piece — an homage to the workers who dealt with the damaged nuclear reactors from last year’s tsunami in Japan.

After teaching sculpture and ceramics at Cal Poly for 25 years, he’s relishing the time to do his own work. “The bronze is fairly new for me and has been great fun and rewarding.”

The exhibit appeals to more than the visual senses. Along with the expected smells of epoxy and paint, the fragrance of Ponderosa pine wafts from “Two Blocks” by Los Osos artist Ron Roundy. “A Perfect Day” triggers memories of a summer afternoon, as Belinda Hanson’s installation of a vintage aqua fan emits a gentle hum, a red scarf tied to the frame and a 78 RPM record slowly revolving provide movement in the otherwise still room.

And, instead of the usual whites of marble and stone, and the earth tones of bronzes, the room is filled with color from a vast assortment of material, from high tech to organic, including an emu egg.

First-place winner Linda Vallejo of Los Angeles used pre-produced porcelain figurines, whose complexions she rendered in chocolate hues, for “Little Boy Brown & Brownie,” with touches of prints of original paintings.

But in spite of appealing to so many senses, it’s still “look but don’t touch.”

Fincke has her own ideas on that restriction regarding her bronze. “I wish people could pick it up and roll it around and play with it.”

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