What do you get when you put together an ancient Roman sculpture-esque statue, a mint green ceramic cake, and a photo of Machu Pichu spread over a canvas?
Of course, an art exhibition presented by West Valley College's own art department faculty. Running now for more than 30 years, the exhibition features masterpieces by dedicated professors of ceramics, photography, sculpture, mixed media and fine art.
Jason Challas, a digital and studio art instructor at West Valley and a featured artist at the exhibition, says that the comunity college hosts six exhibits throughout the year, each with its own special theme.
However, not all exhibits feature only art department faculty.
Throughout the year the department facilitates all, from invited local high school art students to currently enrolled West Valley College students, and even well known professionals in the expansive field of art, for showcases at its recently renovated gallery on the first floor of the Student Center on campus.
At this year's opening exhibit, fellow faculty members share about themselves and their work.
Kimberly Cook, a ceramics professor at West Valley and Foothill colleges, has been a part of the faculty for one year. She's been working in the ceramic medium for 15 years.
Cook's work with imagery of animals is grounded in the exploration of the universal human condition. People tend to empathize more with animals than they do their human counterparts, she said.
By using figures of animals in her body of work, she mirrors the feeling of human emotions, while also reflecting simple and pure animalistic traits that are akin to that of a child that is preverbal, she added.
This is evident in her featured work - a white teapot glazed in pasel colors with a golden handle and spout, showing a little girl with a rifle and a deer/fawn at her feet, which Cook says intends to represent the child as a protector rather than a hunter.
Chris Cryer, an art professor, began with low resolution cameras that produced many photos that he wasn't able to reprint in larger sizes. However, with the idea of stretching them out on canvases that are easily viewable from a distance he produced a unique new way of looking at photographs. Three of his works are featured at the exhibit, including a black-and-white silhouette of a woman standing atop stairs, a photo of a bride captured by modern camera, and the beautiful Machu Pichu reprinted on canvas.
You can view the exhibition, which is free, through Feb. 21, Mondays and Wednesdays 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30-3 p.m.
The galley is closed weekends, and will be closed on Feb. 18 in observance of Presidents' Day. Be sure to visit. You never know what gems you may discover.
Editor's Note: This article was written for Patch as part of a San Jose State University journalism class assignment. The writer welcomes your feedback, comments. Thank you.