Art gallery displays the abstract, the unique

Laughter and chatter fill the air as gallery-goers get their first glance at “The Third Dimension” art exhibit currently on display in the University Art Gallery. This display features four sculptors from both the Bay Area and New Mexico. Each artist has their own unique and very different style, yet are similar in the way that they all love to create sculptures and abstract pieces of art. 

Shawn HibmaCronan’s creations are all car-like mobile devices that vary in size and are made out of many different materials such as wood, steel and reclaimed objects. The feature piece of his collection is a 1963 Ford Falcon Deluxe Club Wagon that he completely re-designed and remodeled into a futuristic metallic van which includes newly installed hydraulics as well as modern customized features throughout. 

HibmaCronan demonstrated the hydraulics during the show, which lifted the van up and down almost touching the ground with the bumpers. In his words on his website, he explains why he chose this particular car to reconstruct. He said, “Inspired by our nation’s ongoing romance with automobiles, this work aims to connect a surviving artifact of 1960’s idealistic Americana with the elements and gestures of a contemporary “customize everything” subculture.” 

A smaller piece of his, called “Escape Vehicle,” is made out of a wooden school desk with four bicycle wheels attached to each leg of the desk. “Air Ride Chair” is a slightly bigger and bulkier vehicle made out of steel, airbags, bamboo, copper and thick wheels. It is designed for the rider to lie back as if relaxing on a recliner and has hydraulics as well as a gas tank on the back for mobility. 

The last of his pieces on display in the gallery is called the “Angler.” This device has two larger wheels on the front and two smaller wheels on the back with a chain of wood wrapped around connecting the two. It also uniquely features a light bulb that is attached to the base and hangs from the top.

When asked what inspired him to create these specific kinds of sculptures, HibmaCronan said, “I’ve always been completely interested in cars, obviously, not only just the fastest, best-looking or most expensive cars, that’s not really that exciting. It’s more of the car culture side of it. Like the weird things people do to their cars as a fashion statement. People write things off so easily like ‘oh it’s just a car thing’ when there’s so much craft, effort, attention to detail and love that go into these things. I’m trying to bring that out in my work just the same way that I address my other sculptures.” 

Ann Weber, another artist, had work that consisted of sizeable and shapely sculptures all made out of woven pieces of cardboard stapled together to form intriguing standing and hanging shapes. The pod-like structures all represent something important to her in her life and that is where they get their names. 

“I feel like every sculpture references something or someone that was important to me in my life, (the hanging structures) are called ‘Float and Sting’ and they are the description of Muhammad Ali, the great boxer. He coined this phrase: ‘I float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.’ Ali had a really big influence on people of my generation.”

Weber stated that she was born in 1950 and Muhammad Ali was one of the first great athletes who really owned the sport and made black power a really important thing. 

Her other enormous standing structures have an important meaning to her as well. Two of Weber’s gigantic leaning pieces that towered over everything in the gallery are called “Almost Sixteen” and were created in 2001.

“They are about a lot of different things – my daughter was just turning sixteen, so that was sort of a rocky period for her. I feel like I’m interested in making things that are about balancing acts because we’re always balancing our schoolwork, jobs, families and personal lives. After 9/11 it was also a time when we started seeing that kind of architecture coming out of the Middle East, so that also had an influence on me.” 

Walter Robinson is a San Francisco artist who creates eye-catching abstract art that makes people think. His statement is: “Working in a range of materials— wood, epoxy, metal, and found materials— I hand-fabricate and assemble objects, signage and tableaux that investigate the mechanics of cultural and social anthropology. Using text and the strategies of appropriation, conflation, and dislocation, I uncover the subconscious and biological human imperatives hidden beneath social, political, religious and capitalist packaging.” 

His pieces on display included a miniature paddle boat with small cargo shipping boxes. Each box was a different color that stacked high, entitled “Fruits de Mer.” There was a vintage square clock with a metal horse on top that has Homer Simpson as the upper half of the body, called “Speed.” Lastly, a gaunt red dog peering into a colorful megaphone with a vulture sitting on top staring down, called “Master’s Voice.”

The fourth artist featured is Chris Thorson, whose work consists of creating objects that one would see in everyday life out of various different materials. He meticulously arranges and places them in specific areas for a dramatic effect. For one of his sculptures, called “Chameleons,” he created old beat up television remotes out of oil and mixed media on hydrocal and mounted them. 

Another piece of his, called “Bro Palace,” consists of what looks like dirty, rolled up socks placed in a corner, but the socks are actually molded plaster. Some other objects that he has constructed for his art are gloves, shirts, cigarettes, plastic bags, chewed gum and fruit. If one doesn’t look close enough, he or she might not realize that these hyper realistic objects have been fabricated to look as though they are the real thing.

Each of these four artists bring different and intriguing styles to this show. It’s certainly worth your time to stop in to the gallery and spend a moment experiencing this incredible collection of abstract art. It will only be on display at Sonoma State until October 12, so make sure you get a chance to see it before it’s gone!