My grand plan before moving back to San Luis Obispo from Boise eight months ago was to ask for space for a divorce column. How could The Tribune resist weekly tales of woe and rebirth from the local girl who used to write the occasional “Single Slices” article back in the 1990s? I stockpiled half a dozen samples and then changed my mind. Too niche. Too personal. Too something.
Somehow my old friends at The Trib sensed my need to share. During my time as features editor more than a decade ago, one of my main goals was to remind readers that arts and events were everywhere and they ought to cram as much of it into their lives as possible. And in the coming weeks I’ll be giving you the heads up about art, artists and exhibits around the county.
My favorite art subjects, in no particular order, include California poppies, mermaids, coastal cows, Mexican calaveras, pinup girls and phonographs. Throw any or all in a shadow box and I’m hooked. This list will likely horrify or delight you. At the very least it gives an idea why I selected the Dynamic Dimensions exhibit at The Gallery at the Network for this week’s column.
Let’s start with poppies. Mary Velasquez grows gourds outside of her Nipomo studio and, instead of painting Santa Claus on them, turns them into carved and layered delights. “Poppies and Lattice” may have started as a smooth gourd, but it’s now something with rough edges you’ll have the urge to run your hands over.
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Also featured in the show is fellow mixed-media artist Ann Bonestell of Los Osos. She uses tiny objects, collage and embellishments to tell stories inside small wooden boxes. “Regarding Seeds” features flower seeds (including poppies!) and a Chinese proverb: “All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.”
Both of these women express their creativity in other ways, too. Bonestell makes jewelry and accessories using silk, gourds and fabric as well as mixed media masks. Velasquez is also a photographer and digital artist.
Also featured in Dynamic Dimensions are sculptures by Jack Biesek, sculptural forms by Fox and Lois Garney of Foxlo and ceramic images by Rebecca Reibel.
If you haven’t visited The Gallery at the Network, it is a wonderful way to get a snapshot of work being done by more than 35 area artists.
Contact freelance writer Monica Fiscalini at Monica_Jane2000@yahoo.com.