Art students honor Perlman

Outside the door of the art gallery stand viewers wearing modern edgy attire, holding wine glasses while snacking on cheese and crackers ready to enjoy the exquisite art displayed by 25 of Mark Perlman’s most talented students. 

Twenty-five years later, Perlman debuts 25 of the most impressive paintings displayed at Sonoma State’s Art Gallery. 

The exhibition was a great tribute to Perlman as he is a long dedicated art instructor here at Sonoma State University and will now be retiring. 

The gallery reigns with diversity as abstract paintings like Annie Watson’s “Helio –Glider, 2003” burst with beautiful colors that tell a different story interpreted to each unique individual that stands upon the painting with thoughtful thinking. 

Others, like those shared by Halle Siepman, “Emerging 2012, mixed media on panel,” bring a modern feel to the scene as clean lines and symmetrical shapes meet the eye. 

The colorful oil continues to impress and amaze as pieces show true messages all are able to in some way relate to. 

For example, provocative paintings such as Mike Koftinow’s “Benedict, 2010, mixed media on paper” is challenging as the painting brutally displays Pope Benedict as evil with red shoes, conniving eyes and hands that are not blessing the public, but more like deviously going after the people. 

Others convey issues such as women and gender clashes. James Phegan’s “Family Dinner, 2003,” piece displays a clear message as the “man of the house” sits at the dinner table eating a bowl of Apple Jacks cereal while two other women behind the man hold plates of food, serving him a beautiful fest, which he obviously is quick to reject as he eats his cereal. 

Of course, this “machismo” type of character is all too familiar to everyone, but displayed in a ray of color brings real insight to these types of issues. 

Viewers show satisfactions towards their experience at the show, with such appealing images exhibited. 

Impressed observers appreciate the quality of work and quantity of people in attendance. The administrative coordinator of the art office, Cindy Menghini, loved the outcome of the show.

“[It was] fantastic, just seeing Mark’s work. It’s fun watching students grow,” said Menghini. 

The pieces are developed in such a way that the growth in the students is obvious. 

Each and every piece of art took one to a different trail landing viewers to distinct destinations. 

The splash of divergent dyes and shades provoked different moods. 

Viewers were able to bring about different emotions to the art coinciding to their own personal experiences. 

Presented artist Anne Watson shared abstract images that invoked thought in order to try to understand the meaning of the painting. 

“I start the painting in an abstract way, it’s more about color, texture, and brushstrokes, I’m connected to nature and the outdoors…I like to create objects that are obscured like you don’t know what they are,” said Watson. 

She compared art and foreign languages, explaining that a foreign language, just like art may be something one is not able to understand, but one can still make their own interpretations. 

Watson’s abstract piece, “Helio-Glider, 2003,” is a beautiful, falling apart mess of colors put together in a masterpiece. 

Many lingered, staring, squinting, walking closer and further from the painting in hopes to walk away with an idea of what the artist was thinking while creating such a piece. 

Farmer Lou Preston, who married to an artist, says that he is not an expert on this material but still enjoys the art. 

“First thing that strikes me is the temperature of it; it feels so cool, but now that I look more closely, it looks inviting, I want to jump into it,” said Preston.

The show will run until Oct. 13 at the Art Building.

Perlman’s show was a success. Lisa Aurora, the owner of Naming Gallery in Oakland, was so impressed by the quality of the pieces that she encouraged other SSU students to reach out to her, as she would be glad to support them in their works. 

She can be reached at naminggallery@gmail.com.