Opening June 18th at the Sun Gallery in Hayward, Ca. is another hit art show, but this time featuring recycled and up-cycled works of art by local artists and international artisans. The “Transformations 2: Recycled and Up-cycled” exhibit features the work of over 20 artists, including mixed media pieces, sculpture, functional art, embroidery, textiles, photography and collage.
Artist Anne Pinkowski’s work features found items along with stunning hand-made neon glass work cleverly embedded in her art. International traveler and artist Dotti Cichon’s work graces a feature wall in the gallery – 7 of her unique scarves which all started out as unique photographs from her world travels. Above Dotti’s unique creations hang a hand-made sign with the show name, creatively made out of found items. Sun Gallery staff members Dorsi Diaz, Christine Bender and volunteers Bethany Bender, Char Bender and Heather Thompson worked together to make the unique Transformations show sign, combining several unique methods to make a fun and whimsical introduction to the show.
A mannequin creation by Amy Nelson Smith named “At Your Service” stands boldly in one corner, complete with a tray resembling a butler serving dinner plus a light that turns the butler into a functioning lamp. Next to Amy’s piece is work by local artist Pete Fecteau of Rubik’s Cube art fame, with his piece called “David”, a heavy van door spray-painted in pointillism style. Standing back from the door a viewer can see a portrait emerge. Scattered throughout the space are works by international artist Anitta Toivia, whose long flowing self portraits prompt speculation on how they were made. Another international artist, Eszter Bornemisza, has 2 pieces in the show, one an amazing work called “Mother” which depicts Esther’s physicist mother along with her math notes, creatively done in paper, netting and a special process which burns part of the artwork away, leaving distinct gaps in the pieces.
Stunning woodwork by Larry Berger shows an attention to detail normally reserved for only the finest of wood furniture, one of his pieces named “By the Inch” jumps out at the viewer in stunning red, yellow, black and white. The piece was crafted from old furniture and inlaid with yardsticks.
In a twist of whimsy, Nina Starr’s uses old dolls to create new works of art much to the delight of the viewer. One of Nina’s pieces, called “Pinocchio’s Relapse”, features a huge gilded birdcage housing unique antique dolls which hang from one of the galleries rafters. A delight for the children, Cynthia Jacobs colorful and fun marionette like creations of bees, bugs and animals are crafted from caps, lids, telephone wire and other recycled plastics. Each of Jacobs piece were hand-drilled each to make the “Marionettes.”
Artisan Valerie Caveglia’s stunning wood encased piece catches the eye with light bouncing off her internationally “found items”, lovely pieces and fragments of things collected from around the world in “Unbridled, but Finally Found.” Susan Ashley’s piece cleverly uses a mix of newspaper and other recycled items, along with a light that turns on the “sun” in her piece named “Eclipse.” Textile artist Jennifer Huang dares viewers to think out of the box in her unique pieces, featuring embroidery delicately spun over photographed faces in pieces like “Our Sinew made Anew.”
Fun and functional art abounds in the show with a bright birdhouse crafted out of a Wisconsin license plate in Jamila Rufaro’s piece aptly named “Wisconsin.” A coat rack made from an old stage prop by Phillip Gallegos hangs on another wall next to colorful weaving’s made by Sun Gallery’s current Summer Art Camp students. Beautifully crafted and colorful collages by Jan Nolte hang above other collage inspired art – banks made out of old coffee cans, lids and magazine clippings by Sun Gallery’s Free Art Saturday class families. Emerging artist Dana Mano Flanks stunning environmental art once again dazzles show goers with her use of found items in her daring earth pieces.
Antonio Castro’s miniature boxing ring surrounded by barbed wire is an intriguing little piece perched on a shelf in the main part of the gallery next to digital art by Leonardo Leon, a bright red, green and black portrait entitled “Green and Red.” Local photographer Patra Rae Nesseth-Steffes photographs of yard art made from recycled metal reminds viewers that found art can even be discovered outside. Gallery Manager Christine Benders bright and colorful mannequin features all the things she loves artistically applied to the human-like form – sewing, painting, making mixed media art and drinking tea.
The clever use of plastic PVC piping turns something mundane into something fun in artist Robert Wolff’s creation of a PVC inspired goat named “Year of Goat.”
Popular local artists from Fremont, Peter & Maureen Langenbach, are adjacent to Transformations in the Ken Cook Room, which runs from June 23 to August 1. The Langenbach’s well loved work epitomizes the art of using recycling material to it’s fullest potential, weaving whimsical and fun images into sometimes provocative messages. The Langenbach’s also have work in the Transformations show, adding a twist of fun mixed with the irony of sculpted heads, some bearing fantasy hair, elongated features, charming faces and wild grins.
The Langenbach’s show in the Ken Cook Room is called “Art Transformed” and the hand-crafted sculptures cleverly in-case the poems of recently named Hayward Poet Laureate Bruce Roberts, with a sign on the pieces engaging viewers to open up the “heads” and read the poem tucked neatly inside.
This show reminds us that art is fun, and so is creating it. The Sun Gallery recently won the 2015 Environmental Award from the City of Hayward for excellence in Environmental Education and Outreach, recycling being one the things the gallery was recognized for. The show, a popular remake of the first Transformations show back in 2011, is a must see for those that love art, and for anyone that wants to see the unique creations of those artists that live among us in the East Bay.
The Sun Gallery is open Thursday through Sunday from 11-5 and admission is free. The gallery is a non-profit and any donations are always appreciated, helping continue it’s 40 year message of “Building Community Through Creativity.” The Gallery is located at 1015 E St.. in Hayward, Ca. 94541 and their website is www.SunGallery.org. You can also find them on FaceBook here.
The Galleries phone number is 510-581-4050. An Artists Reception will be held on Sat. July 11th from 1-4 with finger foods and beverages being served. Admission to the reception is free and you can meet and greet the artists displaying work in the Transformations show.