Monday, February 6, 2023     Volume: 23, Issue: 49

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on September 21st, 2016, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 17, Issue 29 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 17, Issue 29

Doctoral dedication: Allan Hancock College's Jill Thayer shares a career-spanning exhibit of her art


It takes quite a lot of resources, both financial and intellectual, to achieve a doctorate in any field of study. A Ph.D. in the arts, however, also calls on a tremendous amount of creative energy to earn the distinction.

Allan Hancock College’s fine arts instructor Jill Thayer braved all the burdens of higher education and earned her doctorate in Cultural and Museum Studies with a focus on exhibition theory, contemporary art history, design theory, and visual culture. Along the way she honed several skills, becoming an accomplished artist, educator, curatorial archivist, writer, designer, and art historian.

The landscapes showing in Jill Thayer’s show, In Context: Transdisciplinary Works and Other Musings at Allan Hancock College, share a colorful, almost abstract treatment of the natural world.

A collection of Thayer’s work that spans her career currently shows at Hancock’s Ann Foxworthy Gallery. The exhibit, titled In Context: Transdisciplinary Works and Other Musings, is on display until Oct. 7, offering plenty for visitors, students, and college staff to see.

Upon entering the gallery, the show almost feels like one of Hancock’s faculty exhibits, due to the variety of media sectioned throughout the show. There’s painting, photography, mixed media, graphic design, and even a case of products for which Thayer designed packaging.

The prevailing theme throughout the work is color. Her paintings convey reality but in a style saturated with hue and abstract expression.

The photography section of the exhibit illustrates a focus on the natural world, its forms, and luminescent moments waiting to be discovered. The photography is digital, and a couple images are a bit pixilated or grainy in the finest details, but most are crisp conveyances of a sharp eye and clear vision.

One section of the exhibit that must be great for students to see is the variety of Thayer’s graphic design work. Design work pays the bills for many artists, but Thayer’s designs show that an artist can still be quite expressive while working a job. One glass-encased pedestal showcases her package design, including Pepsi cans and boxes for Carnation ice cream sandwiches. There are also concert posters and museum exhibit posters that obviously took a great deal of care to conceive and execute.

The photography section of Thayer’s exhibit also illustrates a focus on color and form in the natural world.

After a peek at the guest book for the exhibit, the students’ appreciation was confirmed. Many entries mentioned the use of color, and more than one said they were “inspired” to create themselves. This is what makes the Ann Foxworthy Gallery at Hancock a special place. A dialogue is kindled within faculty, between faculty and students, and among the students when they get a chance to show their own work.

Thayer’s exhibit also showcases what’s at the heart of Hancock’s Fine Arts Department: a well versed and multi-faceted approach to creativity where many different media can co-exist peacefully, and synergistically, with the goal of creating well-versed students and professionals. 

Arts Editor Joe Payne is looking at the course roster for Hancock. Contact him at

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