Faculty with faculties: PVCC instructors show off

Fenella Belle, "Blue Moon."
Fenella Belle, "Blue Moon."

Anyone familiar with Beryl Solla, chair of Piedmont Virginia Community College's art department, knows she 's not shy when it comes to gushing superlatives. Solla regularly declares events, movies, people, even salads to be "the best [insert noun] ever!" So it's easy to guess what she would say about PVCC's annual faculty show, currently on view in the V. Earl Dickinson Bulding's North Gallery.

But this year, she would be right. Although PVCC only has three fulltime art instructors–- Solla, Rob Tarbell, and Tom Clarkson–- its current roster of adjunct faculty reads like a who's who of local art luminaries. Realist Rick Weaver teaches painting, as does mixed-media maestro, Clay Witt. Ceramics artist Rebekah Wostrel oversees a range of classes, along with printmaker and fiber artist Fenella Belle. Eco artist Jeremy Seth Taylor instructs PVCC students in drawing, while silkscreen poster impresario Matt Thomas teaches computer graphics. And the list goes on.

The faculty exhibit gives these hardworking artists the chance to step outside the classroom and show what floats their own creative boats. Surrounded by their work in the North Gallery, it's impossible not to acknowledge the rich and varied talent among PVCC's teachers–- with few exceptions, the show maintains a uniformly high level of quality, rare for any group show, but especially for one lacking a curator.

Among the standout pieces are Rebekah Wostrel's "Pillow Forms," which offer an interesting departure from her symmetrical work. Collaborating with glass artist Charles Hall, Wostrel has created four small porcelain vessels, each with a round opening on top, that rest on furry rounds of felt atop cobalt blue glass "pillows." The off-white shapes are soft and imperfect, tactile and inviting. Thanks to Hall and Wostrel's skilled teamwork, the vessels' weight seems to palpably sink into the glass.

Also noteworthy is Clay Witt's untitled piece that mixes intaglio printing on Japanese paper with rust and cinnabar to create a work that moodily evokes dried blood and bones. Rob Tarbell's translucent abstract, "Insect, Drill," which features a Rorschach-like smoke drawing on stretched nylon, also has an anatomical aura.

Another artist who plays with transparency is Fenella Belle. Her nature-themed "Blue Moon" dazzles with an iridescent quality that results from Belle's layering silkscreen prints and embroidered organza. Nearby, Beryl Solla also uses embroidery, along with meticulous beading, in her hilarious send-up of nursery art, "Babies Are."

In sum, as Solla would say, "Best PVCC faculty show ever!"

PVCC's annual art faculty show is on view through February 2 in the North Gallery of the V. Earl Dickinson Building. 961-5202.

1 comment

Best Art Review EVER!!!