Artists gather for opening of exhibits to speak on pieces

Natalie Houalla

Celebrative receptions were held for the artists whose works are featured in Irvine Valley College’s Art Gallery, and another for participants and winners of the third International Small Teapot Show Feb. 21 at Saddleback College’s Art Gallery.

“Anti-Static”, a kinetic sculpture exhibition at IVC showcases the distinctive artistic works of Jim Jenkins, David Brokaw, and Kyle Chew.

Most of the artwork displayed was composed not merely for aesthetic appreciation, but for the purpose of defying conventional standards and making a statement. Many of the sculptures incorporated words or phrases.

For example, three pieces by Jim Jenkins presented the words yes, no and maybe not amongst their mechanical-looking set. Though the words were simple, they could be very thought provoking and start an entire train of thought and interpretation.

Jenkins describes his career as “part sculptor, part engineer, part choreographer.” He incorporates the power of observation and nature in his inspiration to sculpt.

Jenkins uses text to represent situations and observations. “I found many of the pieces to be a bit confusing.” said Sam Walker, 21, history. “I didn’t necessarily understand what the artists were trying to portray, but in a way that made it more interesting to me.”

There seemed to be an overall appreciation for the artwork, with strong attempts at personal interpretation.

“I may or may not be right.” said Anita Gomez, 19, undecided. “But it seems to me that the first idea that comes to mind when you look at the sculpture is probably the right one. If you over-think it, it becomes complicated.”

The Anti-Static works will be on display until Mar. 14.

The Tea Pot exhibition included 115 unique teapots from 10 different countries as well as some additional teapots from Yixing, China. These pieces were selected from over 350 entrants from 15 different countries.

The simple criteria for the competing teapots were that they were to be at least 80 percent ceramic and hold no more than 16 ounces of water.

“All of these teapots are actually functional,” said Miranda Casteen, 22, graphic design. “As artistic as they are, they can still be properly utilized, which is really something.”

Contestants were outrageously creative in their ceramic designs. Who would have thought that a chihuahua in a hightop sneaker could make a fabulous teapot design?

“Clay really has a mind of its own… It has a way of talking to you,” said Carol Tripp Martens, whose piece won first prize in this year’s show and competition. “I’ve tried just throwing small cups against the clay pot to see where it lands, which is how I came up with this idea.”

Martens has also recently displayed and sold her pottery, specifically teapots, at The Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach. “I have entered work a couple of times before,” Martens said. “But this is my first time winning a prize.”

The reception celebrated its Chinese foundation with a catered Chinese cuisine, silent pottery auctions, served tea and complimentary teacups (courtesy of Saddleback ceramic students).

Winners were announced after a relaxed evening of mingling. A grand prize, first place, second place, third place and six honorable mentions were given. The grand prize winner, Serina Nakazaw, and her teapot, “Tea Amigo,” were awarded a trip to China, free of charge.

The teapot entries will be on display in Saddleback’s Art Gallery until Mar. 27.