Themes of human struggle exhibited

Oppression, liberation on display at Eddie Rhodes Gallery

George Morin / The Advocate
Oakland resident Lorraine Bonner (left) describes her piece titled “Devourer” to Brentwood resident Julee Richardson (right) during the art reception in the Eddie Rhodes Gallery on Friday.

By Marlene Rivas, Staff Writer

A reception for an exhibition of artistic variety was held at the Eddie Rhodes Gallery this past Thursday in the Art Building at Contra Costa College.

Gallery coordinator, Dana Davis, talked about the importance of art and expressing one’s self with it.

“It’s about the human struggle and liberating an idea an artist has, by giving it form outside of yourself. It has a life then,” Davis said.
The exhibition, which will run through Oct. 2 in A-5, features a specific theme of liberation, struggle, and oppression.

Upon entering the Eddie Rhodes Art Gallery, an array of pieces are on display. Framed work is hung on all four walls. Along with that, there is also a great array of sculpted pieces, which stand their ground in the center of the room.

The pieces vary greatly and the individuality behind them shines through. Along with vivid oil paintings, there is also work that is signature to the artist that created it.

Caroyln Jean-Martin, one artist in particular, frames gunpowder that is melted down, and slightly burned, to represent society’s lack of value in that which is dark, in reference to skin color.

Other pieces, in the form of paper cutouts arranged together to form a picture, depict uniformed soldiers united in revolt. There are also others meant to symbolize how greatly, and mostly, women are affected by war.

Their creator, artist Judy Johnson-Williams, said she loves the ambiguity and unpredictability that art allows.

Another artist, sculptor Lorraine Bonner, uses her work to symbolize the oppression that African-Americans face, as well as issues that involve all walks of people. Her pieces are in black and white in order to depict “social construction of whiteness and blackness, which forms a hierarchy,” she said.

One piece in particular, of a man with a target on his chest, is meant to show how African-American men are targeted. She said the piece is also supposed to represent police brutality against them.

Another Bonner piece depicts a person who is bound around the eyes with barbed wire, and held by two hands made of money.

This display is designed to show how money has a hold of people in the world today. Bonner is thrilled by the idea of art being represented in shows such as these.

“Art should be available to everyone, especially on a college campus, to expand minds and larger ideas of humanity,” she said.

The art department will be hosting these events on a monthly basis. Each will have a different theme so that there may always be something new and intriguing.