Friday, June 5, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 14

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on November 26th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 39 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 20, Issue 39

Faculty exhibition at Ann Foxworthy Gallery shines new light on Hancock College fine arts teachers


Sculpture, painting, and photography are some of the more traditional media featured in Allan Hancock College’s Fine Arts Faculty Art Show—currently on display through Dec. 12. But spectators of the exhibit can look forward to experimental works as well, including Transgressions, a digital video art series created by faculty member Nancy Jo Ward. 

Gallery hours
Allan Hancock College holds its Fine Arts Faculty Art Show in the Ann Foxworthy Gallery, located in building L of the school’s Academic Resource Center, through Dec. 12. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7:45 p.m., and every Friday from 9 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Admission to view the exhibit is free. Visit for more info.

Nancy Jo Ward altered and edited photographs of female subjects to create her digital art featured in Allan Hancock College’s Fine Arts Faculty Art Show.

“I have apologized to my colleagues who teach film and video at Hancock because I am probably breaking all of the rules they teach their students,” said Ward, who’s been teaching graphic design courses at the college for 22 years. 

Ward’s introduction to experimental video editing came about in 2018 while completing her master’s degree from the University of the Arts London. Over the next year, Ward continued to embrace the art form as “a way to continue learning and experimenting,” she said. In this way, Ward maintains the role of teacher and student simultaneously. 

“I believe that you should always keep learning new things. Don’t stay in the same groove. Move into different areas where you might be uncomfortable, stretch a bit every day,” Ward said.

“Experimental video is moving from the fringes—raves and pop-ups—to mainstream—major concerts, biennales, and museums,” added Ward, who categorized her video artwork under the “post-internet” label. 

The Hancock instructor uses both found images and her own original photography in her video installations. These images and photos are edited and altered in various ways, some more heavily than others, Ward explained.

“When you use technology in your work, it is often hard to know when to stop. I know I am done when I can’t add any more meaning,” she said. “I have a constant dialogue going as I work—‘Is this better or worse? Is this interesting or boring?’” 

Ashes gathered from two California wildfires were infused into the ink Amiko Matsuo used to create the drawings featured in her Platters and Ash series.

One crucial element each altered image and photo has in common is a female subject, Ward added.

“My subject matter is all female. I lost my mother when I was young and am probably searching for that connection,” she explained. “I am interested in human interaction and eliciting emotion.”

Fellow Hancock instructor Amiko Matsuo also shares a personal connection to her artwork featured in the show. Titled Platters and Ash, Matsuo’s series includes drawings and sculptures created from ash gathered from the Springs Fire (2013) and Woolsey Fire (2018). 

“We encounter stories about fire on an alarmingly frequent basis,” said Matsuo, who resided in Ventura County before relocating to the Central Coast two years ago. 

“These materials began to expand beyond the scope of their own artistic agencies to read as reliquaries and memorials,” Amiko Matsuo said of the ashes gathered to create some of her sculptures and drawings.

The professor began creating artworks centered on California wildfires in 2013, while teaching ceramics courses at CSU Channel Islands. Matsuo and her students were forced to evacuate their classroom one day during the Springs Fire.

“We fled with our particle masks on wondering what might happen to our work,” recalled Matsuo, who envisioned Platters and Ash as a reflective depiction of the “emotional residue” of a wildfire.

These drawings and sculptures were first exhibited at Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks last year, Matsuo said, not long after November, the month of both the Woolsey Fire and the Borderline Bar and Grill shooting. As the campus community faced the tragedies of both horrific events, Matsuo hoped the exhibit’s debut served a purpose of remembrance. 

“These materials began to expand beyond the scope of their own artistic agencies to read as reliquaries and memorials,” she said.

Owen’s Valley Dusk by Kris Doe is one of several paintings featured in Allan Hancock College’s Fine Arts Faculty Art Show. Kris Doe is one of the 16 faculty members whose work is showcased.

Bringing Platters and Ashes to Hancock, Matsuo joins Ward and 14 other faculty members—Sydney Sorensen, Patrick Trimbath, Adrienne Allebe, Glenn Hiramatsu, Lauren Rayburn, Kris Doe, Lilly Pon, Kam Jacoby, Theresa Gingras, Shane Anderson, Jill Thayer, Michele Simonsen, John Hood, and Laura-Susan Thomas—in exhibiting their works in the Ann Foxworthy Gallery, located in the college’s Academic Resource Center (building L).

Thomas, the gallery’s director, has digital art prints featured in the show. She said she considers the exhibit a unique chance for students and the public to view faculty members’ art—from the perspective of these individuals as artists rather than as art teachers.

“This is a great opportunity for our art department faculty to showcase their personal artworks. These are works they are creating in their own studio spaces,” Thomas said in a press release from the college. “This show will help Hancock students to see our faculty members in their roles as artists outside of the classroom.” 

Send comments and story tips to Arts Editor Caleb Wiseblood at

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