“Outside Influences” begins showing at the Domareki Gallery this week
Anyone who has a reason to come to Columbia High School (CHS)’s Main Office may want to consider adding a little extra time to their visit. Just across the hall, in the Domareki Art Gallery, the first art exhibition of the year has just opened this week and it features works created by the Fine Arts Department faculty.
“For some of us, summer vacation provides the opportunity to work in our studios,” said CHS’ Ceramics Teacher Nicole Thomas, who is starting her sixth year teaching at the high school. “We wanted to showcase the artwork we created over the summer as well as have a fresh collection of work on view for the beginning of the school year.”
Thomas’ work, a collection of ceramic mugs – some adorned with images of pink roses, others with crescent moons glazed with gold luster – is displayed at the center of the exhibit called, “Outside Influences.” The name is a “gentle nod” to everything that can influence an artist’s creative process, Thomas said.
CHS Fine & Performing Arts Supervisor James Manno said that the faculty art show is an annual event that kicks off the visual art school year at the high school.
“Each year, the Visual Art Staff at Columbia High, many of whom are also practicing professional artists, get to amaze staff and inspire students by being the first to exhibit in the school’s Domareki Art Gallery,” said Manno. “Pedagogically speaking, creating one’s own art puts that person at the heart of the art-making process. This means when our teachers’ students have difficulty with their own craft, our teachers understand. The teachers are equipped to help students find solutions because they get it, they’ve been there.”
Dinner and movies are clearly two major influences for Paul Marigliano, who teaches animation and film. His drawings feature classic meals and movie titles, i.e., a colorful Margherita pizza called “Roman Holiday” and a bold double-cheeseburger appropriately dubbed, “American Beauty.”
Other faculty artists’ outside influences are not as obvious, but they’re present. A serene watercolor by Design and Fibers Teacher Karen Murphy gives a nod to The Beatles with its title, “Octopus Garden.” Curtis Grayson III’s painting “Rule Breaker” shows a man who is out for a swim, determinedly walking past written notices of “Whites Only” and “No Colored.” Unexpectedly, the man is accompanied by Daffy Duck, a well-known authority on all things despicable, whose facial expression is one of disgust at the racism.
Other pieces in the collection were created by Drawing and Advanced Placement (AP) Studio Art Teacher Alexandra Cappucci, Photography Teacher Richard Cutrona, Computer Graphic Teacher Cintia Malhorta, and AP Art History Teacher Kandice Stewart.
The “Outside Influences” exhibition is the first of 10 monthly art exhibitions that will be displayed in CHS’ Domareki Gallery. All of the upcoming exhibitions will feature works created by students, beginning with next month’s exhibition, which will showcase works by graphic arts students.