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Former Rio artists currently on display

By Dane Rivera
On March 18, 2011

Rio Hondo's current artists in residence, Kelly Mclane and Jared Pankin, were former Rio Hondo students and it was truly an honor to hear them speak about their work.

The artists in residence is a great program that Rio offers for aspiring artists to be able to connect to the movers and shakers of the art world. Mclane and Pankin are husband and wife and many of their art were steeped in collaboration. Pankin commented about the art presented, "We chose the work in this show because of the way it works together."

Mclane and Pankin's studios are located at the foothills of the Sequoias where they recently moved; citing a desire to see what it was like to live outside of the city. Mclane explained, "people thought leaving at the height of our careers was insane.but we wanted a life outside of LA." Mclane cites the blank canvasses and demands of galleries as driving them crazy and wondered if it was possible to make a body of work outside of LA. How different it would be?

Many of their friends believed their art would take a turn to tranquility, reflecting the surroundings they were immersed in. Pankin explained that only their raw materials changed; in content the difference was subtle, "There is no escape from reality, your problems are still the same no matter where you go." Mclane added that an artist's development "is an evolutionary process."

Students had the pleasure of being able to ask questions, which gave insight to the ideas behind the artwork. One student commented that he saw a "Man vs. Beast" theme running through some of the work and wondered if this was a reflection of the living situation in the Sequoias. Pankin replied that the idea that "man manipulates nature to his needs," has always been present in his work and he's always saw his own artwork as similar to the Japanese practice of bonsai.

When asked if it was harder to collaborate than work alone, both Pankin and Mclane gave a resounding "No!" explaining that the nature of their work together has always been collaborative. Mclane closed the night with a question, "Is this a safety first culture and how does it affect us as artists?"

Jared Pankin and Kelly Mclane's art can be seen in the Rio Hondo Art gallery. I'll save any reveling descriptions as I encourage all art students and other students interested in art to witness it first hand.

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