Paper — taken for granted by generations of Americans, but coveted by millions of less fortunate souls throughout the world.
Most tear it off binders, crumble it up in balls and toss it in the trash or recycling bin like a worn out toy. They cherish it like the invaluable resource that it is.
Over the years, paper has been used to make billions of books, documents, envelopes, spitballs, paper airplanes and even jailhouse shanks.
Paper is also the medium of choice for a group of student artists currently showing at the University Library Art Gallery.
The exhibit is called “Decision Driven: Works on Paper” and is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays through March 13. An opening reception was held Jan. 23.
The featured artists are Will Elias, Ashley Farlan, Hillary Gattian, Siera Goodrich, Sarah Heyward, Andrew Kozimor, Ariel Lockshaw, Isaac Lopez, Sarah Newcomb, Hadley Radt and Corinne Robertson.
“It’s impressive work on par with the graduate level,” said Nathan Haenlein, professor of studio art. “All of the artists are advanced students with a Works on Paper Emphasis. We chose students representing a good cross-section of the program.”
Haenlein said the SSU Works on Paper Emphasis was launched in 2007 and that all of the work in the exhibit was made in the last year, and most in the last six months.
“Decision Driven is an exhibition of student works on paper. This show includes 11 artists from the department of art and art history at SSU,” said Haenlein in an email interview. “The works on display highlight an array of opportunities for artistic exploration using paper as a substrate. Additionally, the artists included in the exhibition demonstrate the maturity and commitment our students exercise in their research.”
Per the department of art and art history section of sonoma.edu, students majoring in the art studio concentration may choose “an emphasis in one or more of the following: painting, sculpture, printmaking, works on paper, photography and ceramics.”
The Works on Paper Emphasis offers upper-division classes such as Intermediate Drawing, Intermediate Life Drawing, Advanced Drawing and Advanced Life Drawing.
Kozimor said he likes the exhibit because it offers him “a chance for people to see my work.”
He studies printmaking and sculpture in conjunction with his Works on Paper Emphasis.
“I’ve been drawing as long as I can remember,” said Kozimor, “and did lots of doodling in class when I should have been paying attention.”
The three pieces in his portion of the exhibit feature layered expressions of “digital printing with micron and graphite under Plexiglas.”
Some attendees at the opening reception walked through the exhibit with casual interest, but most lingered long enough to form their own opinions about the creativity.
“I saw the flyer and was attracted to the fact that the artists are students,” said Miki Dora of Santa Rosa. “There are quite a few interesting pieces.”
While viewing Siera Goodrich’s “Behind the Screens,” senior art history major Leah Madsen said, “It’s kind of like two different views of heroes — the priest and the luchador.”
A few minutes later, Madsen and her companion, junior Maria Gasque, were admiring another piece by Goodrich called “Age Sex Location,” an etching and monoprint.
“The images represent the media portrayal of men and women, and how they are objectified,” said Gasque. Working in tandem, Madsen added, “They are what the media focuses on … forget about the person behind it.”
Sandy Kaplan, a “literacy intervention teacher” with 18 years of experience from the Shoreline Unified School District in Tomales, said she “loved the graphic aspect and colors of the Native American expression above the photo” while admiring artist Robertson’s “Defeat,” a work described as “lithograph, silkscreen and gel pen.”
Kaplan is working on a master’s in reading and language at SSU.
Perhaps an entry in the gallery’s comments book said it best: “Beautiful provocative art! Thank you, students. Your creativity is impressive and inspiring. — Associate Professor of English Sandra Feldman.”