Rio Hondo Art Gallery Presents: ‘Cultural Gumbo’

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On Sept. 4, the Rio Hondo Art Gallery held a public reception and artist talk for the ongoing art exhibition “Cultural Gumbo”, featuring Los Angeles artists Sandra Low and Jaime Scholnick. A great turnout was on hand as art students, non-art students, and the local community gathered around to listen to the artists and view their displayed pieces of art.

According to Rio’s Arts and Cultural Events Calendar, “Cultural Gumbo is a paradoxical relationship of desire and disgust with popular culture; both use a constrained yet caustic wit to explore humanity’s contradictions – and complicities.”

The exhibition kicked off on Aug. 25, inside the art gallery on campus and showcases the works of both Low and Scholnick. Low had a series of canvases on display throughout the gallery that followed a food theme in each different painting. These paintings were very reminiscent of the late 1950’s Pop art movement in America, headed by notable artists such as the late Andy Warhol and Tom Wesselmann. Although not only influenced by Pop art, Low was influenced by the popular American foods of the 1950’s.

“I just wanted to use the classic foods of the 1950’s in my paintings; fried chicken, cherry pie, hot dogs and melted cheese”, said Low smiling and laughing.

Melted cheese was definitely a main centerpiece and objective in a few of Low’s paintings. It was featured in her painting “Pop Life”, in which large gold words spelling pop life were painted on a light pink painted background, and had melted cheese stacked together at the bottom. Another was the fantastic “Cheesy Living Room”, which featured a cheeseburger on the wall and melted cheese dripping all over the couches and tables of a living room.

“There’s just something amazing yet sexy about melted cheese that attracts the viewer’s eyes,” explained Low, when asked about why melted cheese was incorporated into her paintings.

Other notable works by Low were “Phat Stax”, located at the entrance of the gallery (and featured a bull covered melted cheese nonetheless), and “Classy Living (Lasagna)”, one of her many food focused paintings.

Scholnick, on the other hand, displayed two of her fantastic three-dimensional sculptures; “Time After Time Reconfigured”, and “Lipstick Tower”. Scholnick also featured a huge Transformer-esque piece entitled “Black White & Flo Red Installation”, along with a beautiful acrylic; collage panel entitled “White Out”.

It is to be noted that both artists have a successful background in their artistic career. “Cultural Gumbo” is Low’s sixth solo/two-person exhibition and is her third time displaying art at Rio. She last displayed art at Rio in 2012 for the show, “Faculty Art Exhibition”, and in 2007 for the show, “Nice Work If You Can Get It”. Scholnick has had her art showcased in galleries and museums located both nationally and internationally. She also studied papermaking in Japan for five years and has displayed her artwork in Tokyo.

Both artists provided incredible works of art to Rio’s art gallery and spoke very modestly about their artwork to the attendants of the artist talk. Additionally, both artists received a positive reception from the crowd, gaining the recognition of the local surrounding community and the students of Rio.

“Cultural Gumbo” runs through Sept. 25, inside Rio’s art gallery. Gallery daytime hours are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Evening hours are from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Wednesday.