The public is invited to see the exhibition “Three Sculptors” through November 21 at the Porterville College Art Gallery. The show features the work of sculptors Richard Arenas, Carol Clum and Mike Perez.
Arenas is from a Campesino family from Mexico, but was born and raised in Tulare. Having worked the fields throughout California, he feels strongly about social and economic rights for all. He believes in preserving the indigenous history and culture of all people through the arts.
“My personal goal is to immortalize the Campesino, the people of pre-Columbian Mexico, and indigenous people of the world,” said Arenas, who has received many awards for his art and community involvement including the “Local Hero of the Year Award” from Valley Public Television and induction into the College of the Sequoias Hall of Fame.
“The laborious nature of the work behind each piece reflects the very nature of the repetitive and back-breaking work of the farm laborer,” said Arenas. “Each sculpture is made up of dozens upon dozens of small hand cut pieces of leather, metal and wood, assembled into beautifully patterned figures.”
Clum was born in Washington, D.C., graduated from George Washington University and worked as a computer programmer for 13 years for the U.S. Navy. She wrote programs managing radio frequencies, tracking Russian nuclear submarines and facilitating search and rescue missions.
“My entire life I’ve enjoyed looking at and creating art in pen and ink, pastels, embroidery and quilting,” said Clum. “When I discovered clay, I was hooked. All other media were abandoned. Later, I pursued found-object art as well as clay sculpture. I love the search for costume jewelry, kitchen utensils, tools, electrical parts and machine parts and the process of selecting the right parts for each sculpture.”
Perez was born in Los Angeles and has been involved in artistic pursuits from a very young age. As a result of his artistic passion and academic proficiency in high school, he was awarded a four-year California State Scholarship, which allowed him to attend, and graduate from, California College of Arts and Crafts with a degree in printmaking and graphic design.
In the mid 1980’s, Perez was employed in the aerospace industry as a digital software illustrator for flight simulators, and during this period became interested in sculpture. He particularly favored the cutting and welding of various metals, primarily steel, though he still works in other sculptural media, such as making rustic furniture using woods of the western Sierra Nevada or, as he says, “My 35-year love affair with telephone wire.” Perez’s artworks in the exhibition are made of steel that has been cut, forged and welded.
The Porterville College Art Gallery is located on campus at 100 E. College Ave. in Porterville. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from noon to 2pm and 4-6pm.