Saturday, January 19, 2019     Volume: 19, Issue: 46

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on February 7th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 49 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 18, Issue 49

Student art at Hancock's Ann Foxworthy Gallery presents work from all walks of life


View a slideshow from the exhibit.

Linda Metaxas simply refers to her painting as “the girl.”

Formally titled A Girl and Her Dog, the painting features a young woman gently holding a friendly faced basset hound in her arms. The dog hangs from her thin arms like a hastily folded lump of fresh laundry, illustrating how lovingly painted every fold of skin and fur is in the piece. As Metaxas proudly stands next to her completed piece, it’s easy to assume the young woman in the portrait is one of her children. But the image hides an intriguing secret: It’s a portrait of herself, painted from a photograph snapped more than 30 years ago by the artist’s late husband.

Physics professor and art student Linda Metaxas’ self-portrait is based off a photograph her late husband took when the couple got their first dog, some 30 years ago.

Metaxas’ haunting lullaby to the past is featured in the annual Fine Arts Student Art Show, showing in the Ann Foxworthy Gallery at Allan Hancock College through Feb. 21. More than 100 works are featured alongside the portrait of the artist as a young woman, in a variety of media including photography, drawing, mixed media, painting, digital arts, typography, graphic design, sculpture, and animation. Three-dimensional sculptures present in the gallery also included pieces forged in ceramic, metal, stryofoam, layered cardboard, and concrete. A looping video playing at the show also highlights the work of animation and graphic design students. The students featured are all enrolled in Hancock’s fine arts classes, and their instructors selected which work would be featured.

Metaxas found the photo after her husband died last year. She said that while the photograph is deeply personal and has significant emotional meaning, she hopes the portrait transcends the two-dimensional space. There’s something else uniquely intriguing about Metaxas. She’s a physics professor at Hancock, set to retire at the end of this semester.

“I absolutely think that art and science are two sides of the same coin,” she said. “When I went back to school and was taking physics and studying calculus, I would spend hours doing this very quantitative work.”

Hancock fine arts student Evan Ross set out to capture the mundane and make it intriguing. His photograph is in the Fine Arts Student Art Show, which runs through Feb. 21.

But while she was studying for her physics degree, Metaxas was also taking art classes. She would often trade off her work in science and math to spend hours painting or drawing.

“Then I could go back and do more math,” she said. “Then that side of my brain would be very refreshed.”

Sculptor Ann Marie Erb produced a project referencing the physical environment of her former home state. Erb’s sculpture featured in the show is actually a maquette, a smaller version of a proposed large-scale project Erb envisioned for the Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota.

“The project was to choose a location anywhere in the world,” Erb said. “This piece is a representation of the natural formations called boxwork that occur [at Wind Cave].”

Wind Cave National Park is famous for its boxwork, scattered throughout its cavernous underbelly. Boxwork is the result of strands of calcite that form out of caves and intersect with one another in a pattern similar to honeycomb.

Sculptor Ann Marie Erb created a marquette, a scaled-down version of a larger installation she proposed for Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota. Erb’s work features her interpretation of boxwork, a prominent feature in the caves.

“I just love the formations,” Erb said. “The rock fractures, water seeps in, deposits the calcite in there, and then it leaves all these paper-thin pins all over the place. Ninety-five percent of this type of formation in the world is found in Wind Cave.”

In addition to being part of the student show, Jacob Martin’s bright, dynamic painting was featured on the poster. His painting is a non-objective abstraction influenced by the aesthetic of the classic 1980s science fiction movie Tron.

“Non-objective painting is basically trying to [convey] something,” he explained. “But it doesn’t have to have any kind of real point.”

Martin said he started from a class assignment that directed students to use base colors of red, white, and blue with acrylic paint. The project is actually a result of the 20-year-old artist’s first art class, although he’s painted on his own for about two years.

Evan Ross’ photograph graces a small space on the wall near the entrance of the gallery. Upon first glimpse, the subject betrays its medium, almost three-dimensional and rough to the touch. But Ross’ work is actually a photograph, one rendered with such precise and stabilized detail as to give the sense of something more textural.

“My objective with these was to try and take something ordinary [and] try to make it interesting,” Ross said. “What I love about those types of close-ups is you get to see all the texture and details in it and just create a composition with that.”

Ross shoots all his work on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, with a 24-170 millimeter lens. He said in the future that he hopes to travel using his photography skills to chronicle what he encounters along the way.

“I just want to take in as many experiences as I can,” Ross said. “I think photography is a good way to do that and to document my journey. As far as photography itself, I’m not sure where it will take me. I’m just kind of along for the ride.”

Show time

Allan Hancock College's annual Fine Arts Student Art Show runs through Feb. 21 at the Ann Foxworthy Gallery on the Santa Maria campus, located in the Academic Resource Center, Building L-South. An artists' reception is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 14. The college is located at 800 S. College Drive, Santa Maria. More info: (805) 922-6966, Ext. 3465.

Arts and Lifestyle Writer Rebecca Rose loves the basset hound but not as much as a rat terrier named BB. Contact her at


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