Review: Talent from the region’s universities shine in Sacramento show


Read the original article on The Sacramento Bee by Victoria Dalkey.

Keeping an eye on the up-and-coming has been a tradition at JayJay. Scouting out new talent at area graduate schools, JayJay’s Emily Johnson has put together an engaging show of works by artists from nearby colleges and universities.

Angela Willetts, who studies at UC Davis, shows a pair of large works done in acrylic, ink, flour and salt on polypropylene. They are the result of performances in which the artist uses her nude body as a paint applicator, rubbing herself on the slick propylene ground and ending her performance with a broad and energetic brush stroke. The result is a non-objective painting with soft smudged areas and a triumphant gestural marking as a kind of signature.

Also a student at UC Davis, James Angelo offers a trio of mixed-media sculptures, the strongest of which is “Losing Transparency (Nine Hundred Million Miles).” It takes the form of a cylindrical column made of plaster and cement placed atop a squat wooden structure and surmounted by a ceramic bowl with a Native American motif, a piece of a cactus, and what looks like a stone on which the cactus leans. It’s a mysterious yet expressive piece that contrasts with the linear quality of his other works.

Ka Yi Leung, who is a grad student at California State University, Sacramento, offers a pair of witty and elegantly made sculptures. “When It Touch the Ground” is a piece made of rubber bands and river rocks that is suspended from the ceiling. The rubber bands mimic natural fibers and the piece resembles a fisherman’s net. “Pancha” is also made of rubber bands and again resembles netting, but the strong blue color and tensile structure make it more purely abstract.

Jennifer Tancreto who is enrolled in the graduate department at California State University, Chico, offers a series of works that resemble Chinese scroll paintings. Combining monoprints, digital prints and suspended paper layers, they have the softness and verticality of Chinese landscapes. Titles such as “Sun just up and the green valley a carpet all around” suggest a visual journal of a journey through an enchanted land.

Jon McCallum, also a student at Chico State, offers a group of compelling, surreal photographs. “House Head” is a pieced image of a house that turns into a head. It is eerie and menacing but also humorous. “Sheeted Figure With Balloons in Room” and “Sheeted Figure With Cone in Room” are both funny and mournful, the draped figures resembling “The Adams Memorial,” a funerary figure by American Renaissance sculptor Augustus Saint Gaudens.

Quynh Tran, from the University of Nevada, Reno, gives us a series of brightly colored monotypes and an artist’s book that folds out accordion-style and can be looked into like a pop-up book. All of her works, though abstract, have the feeling of Pop Art. A series of long horizontal works feature wavelike shapes against a yellow ground with repetitive markings.

Fellow UNR student Bahareh Shahrabi Farahani references her Iranian heritage in a pair of diptychs that juxtapose tarry abstractions with delicate white grounds on which she has painted stylized cloud forms in one work and collaged a picture of an Islamic window on another. They are fragile images that contrast with the warmth and density of the tarry paintings.

Rachelle Reichert, a grad student at Mills College, shows a series of engaging sculptures made of salt and graphite. “Salt Bowl” is exactly what it says it is, refreshingly direct and quite beautiful. “Graphite Bowl,” made of the pencil lead stuff and book pages, is a tiny dense object with lacy edges that is also surprising and quite charming. The graphite is wonderfully complex with many colors coming through, as is the salt with delicate tones of pinks and lavenders with green. The salt bowl is literally mouth-watering because you imagine laying your tongue in the salt. It should be accompanied with tequila and lime.


Where: JayJay, 5520 Elvas Ave., Sacramento

When: Through July 23, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday

Cost: Free


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