Impressive exhibit at MAC Gallery takes WVC art program to lofty level
The MAC Gallery on the Wenatchee Valley College campus is hitting the big time by hosting its most impressive art exhibit ever, highlighted by a $35,000 wall painting from renowned New York artist Kara Walker.
Walker’s Pastoral is a wall painting in black that has been created from a stencil. Scott Bailey, head of WVC’s art program, said Walker’s art is part of a show that features a wide range of printmaking styles featuring major national artists like Robert Motherwell, William Kentridge, Martin Puryear, Kiki Smith and others.
The pieces are on loan from the prestigious Greg Kucera Gallery in Seattle. It is quite a coup for a community college venue to have a relationship with a major urban art gallery. That this is happening is a testament to Bailey’s artistic reputation in the Northwest and the impressive MAC Gallery venue.
Pastoral is a dark work that depicts the silhouette of a seated black woman mounted by the carcass of a sheep. “Walker’s work is controversial in that it examines the rather uncomfortable, sexually-charged relationships between masters and slaves,” according to the Kucera Gallery description.
Picking out the pieces of art and figuring out how best to display them was led by instructors Bailey and Natalie Dotzauer along art department assistant Yevgeniy Rybakov.
To create a teaching opportunity, they involved four students — Daniel Marron, Hope McPherson, Alondra Duarte and Miriam Thomas — in the process. The entire group drove to Seattle to visit the gallery, pick up the art and learn how to safely transport the valuable items. The students also gained insight into the decision process for creating an effective show, Bailey told me. You can check out the video documenting the trip at the artofcommunityncw.com web site.
I chatted with Karen Dawn Dean, a gifted local artist and a key driver behind the First Friday Art Walk, about the importance of this show. She described it as an amazing opportunity to see world-class art in our own region. She described Walker’s work as “subversive” in that she takes on challenging subjects like race, sexuality and gender. Her works are quite provocative. Bailey said there will be a short summary with each piece to help people understand the techniques used and the background of each artist.
It’s impressive that Wenatchee Valley College and Scott Bailey have achieved a reputation where this kind of show featuring nationally acclaimed artists is now possible.
The development and growing sophistication of our local arts scene is something that enriches our valley and it’s good that our community college is in the middle of this evolution.
Creativity is going to be a defining attribute of the skills needed for students to succeed in the future. How fortunate we are to have an excellent program at our college that is at the leading edge in our valley.