Professors showcase art ability in edge art exhibit

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Edge art exhibit opened with a gallery reception on Saturday, Sept. 8, showcasing 34 emeriti and full-time studio faculty artists from the CSUN art department.

The theme of the show, edge, a term with multiple interpretations ranging from “abyss” to “advantage,” reveals a mixed media exhibition bringing together established and emerging artists in the exploration of visual and visionary communication.

In addition to the edge theme, many of the displayed pieces prompt social awareness in the viewer.

Attendees shouldn’t miss Joy von Wolffersdorff’s “Dark Night,” a massive photo textile quilt that displays before and after photographs of locations around the world after the effects of global warming on our environment. For instance, a photo of Alaska in 1941 is a magnificent landscape of glaciers and valleys. The after -shot taken in 2004 shows sunken, melting blobs of ice and a barren field.

The quilt also features color photographs of recent hurricanes in rich colors and diagonal square patterns. The backside of the quilt lists all of the countries that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol.

The Kyoto Protocol is an amendment to the international treaty on climate change, which assigns a country’s mandatory emission limitations for the reduction of greenhouse gases. Sadly, our country isn’t listed.

Besides being aesthetically pleasing, this piece stands for environmental and social awareness and action. Von Wolffersdorff, an illustration professor, said the quilt took a total of nine months to complete. Next to the quilt’s nameplate is a list describing things people can do to start repairing and protecting our world, such as switching to energy-conserving light bulbs.

Another example of art driven toward social movement is David Moon’s 2007 digital print, “Extraction 2.” A cherry red background divided by random black splatters branches off into a linear graph of government wages, wealth and economy.

Though it’s impossible for the viewer to understand precisely what Moon was trying to convey through his art, it does invoke thought.

Thought is certainly provoked by Jim Kelley’s 2007 “Pressure,” a photograph of Osama Bin Laden, whose robe and head wrap have been altered with a print of the cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants.

“Pressure” is a comical look at a figure that Americans usually associate with anger, fear and disdain. Blurring the line of politics with comedy is an effective way to query the viewer’s opinions of Bin Laden. We might wonder after viewing the photograph if there’s a side of his personality that we never imagine. Does he have a sense of humor? Does he watch cartoons?

This piece of art makes us think about things we wouldn’t normally explore, and for that reason, it’s a successful attempt at delving into the viewer’s mind.

On a different note, Edge show also offers art that’s simply pleasurable to the sight. Phil Morrison’s mixed media marionettes, “Flora and Leif Woodwinkle,” look like they stepped out of a mid-century fairy tale.

Their eerily realistic eyes peer out from their perch on a leafy tree branch, stirring up memories of the whimsical realm of childhood imagination. Not all art requires deep thought or provocation to be stimulating and pleasant, and Morrison’s marionettes give the viewer a happy, fuzzy feeling, which is certainly more than enough.

Bruce Everett’s 2005 oil painting, “Twin Oaks,” is a more traditional take on physical beauty. His large frame landscape of Los Angeles foothills and mountains glows with life. Everett has masterfully painted rich shades of yellow and gold upon the mountain tops to suggest radiating light and warmth.

Everett’s painting is the type you want in your family room, as every time you look at it you feel serenity encouraged by the natural beauty all around us.

The show will run until Sept. 22 and is located inside the main CSUN Art Gallery. The gallery is open Mondays through Wednesdays from noon to 4 p.m., Thursdays from noon to 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. and is closed on Sundays.

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