At the inaugural Prefix 927 show in 1988, Art Van Rhyn was among the organizers and participants. “I never thought I’d be around to see this 22nd annual show,” said Van Rhyn, who has been involved with every event, including the exhibit this weekend.
As the Prefix 927 art show has expanded in more than two decades, so have telephone prefixes, to allow for additional phone numbers in Cambria, plus fax numbers and cell phone numbers. Anyone living in Cambria or any member of Allied Arts Association may enter.
Initially a venue for artists to exhibit work that was too avant-garde for local galleries, the show has evolved to include any art that’s outside of an artist’s usual mode. Prefix 927 also encourages people who normally don’t make art.
“It’s about fresh ideas,” said Sarah Blair, who figures she’s entered every show from the get go. “It’s my favorite art show of all.” Her entry this year is a collage with a suggestive title: “My Big Pink Flower.” “It’s clean,” she hastened to note. Blair figures she will come up with additional ideas before the event. Some people work on their entry well in advance, others wait until the last minute. “Sometimes the paint’s still wet,” said Blair.
Stephen Price has also taken part since the show’s early years. “I’ve gone off on a completely different direction,” he said, switching from trompe l’oeil to fashioning shadow boxes that contain multiple wires. “You can hang it any way you want it,” said Price. “They’re like insomnia. You can’t look at these without getting exhausted.”
Price’s partner, Celeste Goyer, is also preparing her entries. “The 927 Show is a great opportunity to use non-traditional art to make statements,” said Goyer, whose “Spheres of Influence” includes highways, breast-like orange safety cones, and a baby saying that if the earth is paved over, nothing nurturing will remain. Goyer resents the show being described as “wacky,” although humor is a big part of the exhibit.
“It’s always pretty funny,” said Tish Rodgers, event coordinator. Her daughter, Shelley Paton, made paper donkeys, titled “Who Ever Heard of a Nice Piece of Elephant?”
Rodgers honors Earth’s precarious future with her multi-media construction titled “Mother Nature Saw and a Tear Fell.”
Interactive work usually shows up in the mix, such as Claudia Laird’s submission. She assembled 18 shots of trash found at Leffingwell Beach, with images of Leffingwell Landing on the back sides, “like a puzzle,” Laird said. The viewer can turn each separate piece, constantly changing the overall appearance.
Longtime participant Pat Hascall appropriated an idea from Charles Demuth’s “No. 5,” using the numbers 927 with a photo of Van Rhyn’s bigger-than-life statue of a standing man at the entrance of his Moonstone Beach Drive studio.
Hascall hasn’t decided whether or not she’ll add a grape leaf.
At the reception Saturday evening, Van Rhyn will announce winners from his usual high perch. “I get to crawl up on the damn ladder again,” he said. “I’m getting too old. They’re going to have to get a little hoist for me.”
If that happens, Van Rhyn might be indistinguishable from his own artwork from previous shows.