Clogs take prize at Small Images

Mangai Pitchai, Staff Writer, Mangai Pitchai, Staff Writer, and Mangai Pitchai, Staff Writer

The 18th Annual Small Images exhibit, at the Atkinson Gallery on campus, showcases the talent of artists of all ages from Santa Barbara, Ventura and Lompoc.  
More than 100 guests enjoyed the Small Images opening and the many well-executed pieces, along with wine and hors d’oeuvres served on the balcony against the beautiful backdrop of the Santa Ynez foothills and the ocean.  
Seventy four pieces were chosen out of 250 submissions and the gallery gave $2,000 in prize money to seven winners and five honorable mentions.  
Anna Pelkey’s “Pair,” made of everyday objects, won the Best of Show award. Drawing inspiration from the clogs worn in Sweden, Pelkey, whose mother is Swedish and father American, said she took a used clog from each of them, took out the tops and joined them with wires.  
Though they were conventional and made of common objects, the clogs struck her as soon as she saw them, said Diana Du Pont, sole juror of the exhibit and a curator at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. But traditional themes like nudes were done well too and they were rewarded, she added. 
The clogs are teamed with a wire-and-ceramic saltshaker and a piece of carpet with a chocolate stain on it, among other items.
“With the reality that I am given, I make constellations based on the inherent strength of the pieces. I try not to come with a hierarchy,” said Du Pont who edited and created a coherence out of pieces that include a traditional Japanese painting and the photograph “Rainy Sun” by 8-year-old Aidan Hogge. 
It takes some effort not to notice Charles Manson’s empty gaze, floating ahead of a bright red background. Elodie McKee’s piece easily dominates the wall. The prison bars keep him safely at bay.
“It’s a beautiful show with a lot of diverse work of many different kinds of media. They deal with the same theme but the artist has different approaches,” said Margaret Morrison, a graphic arts student at City College.
For instance, Rica Coulter’s “Looking Out” is a black-and-white linoleum print of a man looking bleakly out of a window. The painting won third place and captures the sorrow of a tortured soul trying to escape the unknown.  
Along with it is Cole Patterson’s “13 Hair I Am,” which won an honorable mention. Drawing inspiration from real life, 14-year-old Patterson portrayed a boy with hair covering one eye. The image is about the insecurities of teenagers at a time of their life when image is everything, Patterson said. 
“It was an expression of how students hide behind their image. And the one eye peeking out represents the student looking outward for self-acceptance,” he said. 
Christopher Bates, arts department chair, encouraged students to be more involved in art. “I’ve always felt that the gallery is a learning experience for students in the arts department. It serves the community and educates the students,” he said.