Gallery Hosts "Liminal Reality" Exhibit - Virtual & In-person
November 10, 2021 - 09:41 AM
Sculptor Alison Ragguette's unusual mixed-material art is now being featured in the Diana Berger Gallery, located in Bldg. 1 B/C Rm 10 in the northwest part of campus. The Liminal Reality show features unique designs that almost speak to the overly-sanitary pandemic times the world is in, with what looks to be a gooey substances oozing forth from many of the pieces.
The gallery is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-4 p.m., and Wednesdays 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The exhibit runs until December 2, 2021. However, the exhibit is now and will continue to be available virtually on the Art Gallery webpage . More on that later down in the story.
"My work is about anxiety and optimism and surrender and control," Ragguette said. "It has taken on new meaning since the pandemic, as it has forced us to contend with so many unknowns. The work locates beauty in precariousness and suggests humility with the forces of nature that are beyond human control."
Gallery Director Humberto Reynoso says Ragguette's work on the exhibit began before the pandemic struck. One piece, entitled "Pathogen Playground", and created in 2015, actually features a beverage dispenser, filled with Purell hand sanitizer and what look like infant toys, set amidst a tea set and plates with microbe or bacteria-looking things on them, lining the wall.
Ragguette says the piece is "driven by parental anxiety... (and) depicts the frantic impulse to protect our young, attempting to maintain sterility and control exposure to an increasingly toxic world."
"Despite radical efforts to keep our children safe, 'Pathogen Playground' embodies the irony that the natural world is beyond human control," said Ragguette, explaining her piece.
Ragguette will be speaking about her work at the exhibition reception at the gallery on November 18 at 5 p.m.
As Gallery Director, Reynoso installs every exhibit. Ragguette's work offered challenges far beyond normal ceramic sculptures, as her work uses several substances beyond ceramic, including latex rubber and glass. The ooze from pieces is accomplished with the latex to hold the piece still, mid-drip, exactly as you see in these still images.
Reynoso, who is also a Mt. SAC instructor of Beginning and Intermediate Ceramics,
was already very familiar with Ragguette's work, as she was his professor and mentor
while in college at Cal State San Bernardino.
"Since we are still in the middle of the pandemic," said Reynoso, "we wanted an exhibit that would portray our new reality: living with a constant feeling of uncertainty. I thought Alison's work perfectly speaks to that."
Many of Alison's pieces seem to "speak to each other," Reynoso said. He referred to "Pathogen Playground" and another large work, "Cross Section Ellipse", featured in the main room.
On one wall, it appears "as if new life is forming," Reynoso explains. "And then on the other wall, this bacteria, if you will, is covering these objects we interact with daily," he said, referring to the plates. As mentioned above, the exhibit may be experienced in-person through Dec. 2, but it will be available to view indefinitely through the Gallery's Virtual Reality player on their Art Gallery website. This is a new feature implemented during the pandemic when the campus was closed. In fact, the gallery held an exhibit during the campus closure when no one could actually view it in person. Voyage of the Eye by Krishna R. Malhotra is currently available to experience using the virtual reality viewer on the Gallery's Past Exhibits page.
Reynoso said that for Voyage of the Eye, without a single viewer stepping foot into the gallery, the virtual experience had four times the number of visitors that the gallery gets on average for its exhibits.