By John Kaiser III – Navarro County Gazette

Last evening marked the reception for The Navarro College Faculty and Student Art Show, which is currently on exhibit in the Pearce Museum at the Cook Center, and runs through Dec. 5.

The works of Design I and II students from the Corsicana and Waxahachie Navarro College campuses were on display alongside pieces by Laura Briseño, Associate Professor of Art, and adjunct faculty Megan Dill.

In the first alcove, the found works of the Design I students explore tint, tone, and shade. Each work is divided into three monochromatic pieces that together form a complete image. Moving into the next alcove, the Design II and Faculty pieces are discovered. Design II student works are 3D mixed media textiles centered around the theme of femininity.

Perks of going to these art receptions is getting to meet with the artists and discussing their work. Students will often have prints of some their pieces available for purchase. Nathan Wilkes, Madison Tojacek and Haley Jennings were set up selling prints during the show.

The highlight of the evening was getting to listen to Department Chair/Associate Professor Laura Briseño. Entering the gallery I was instantly engaged. Briseño was mid story about her trip to Peru, which was the inspiration behind the series of 11 paintings in her “Inca Trail” series on exhibit. Briseño is as colorful and interesting as her art, capturing the crowd’s eyes and ears as she regaled them with stories about the weeks she spent following the footsteps of Hiram Bingham III (the man Indiana Jones was based on).

“These works are personal reflections from my travels along the Inca Trail. Three summers ago I traveled to Peru to gather research on Choquequirao, the famed Cradle of Gold. In a sense this collection is my love letter to Peru,” Briseño said.

As she continued discussing each piece and the crowd grew, they too caught up in these colorful works of art along with the woman and the stories behind them. At one-point, Briseño went on a brief tangent about the origins of the color red, the discovery of the Incan method of producing it, and its impact on the art world. What could be conceived as mundane textbook historical talk was engaging. Briseño had everyone in the crowd hanging on her every word.

“Since we can’t travel like we used to, going to a gallery allows you to escape and take a trip through the artist’s works. For instance the idea behind this collection was to bring Peru to the viewer, to have you feel like you are walking among the ruins of the city seeing lingering memories on old Inca stones,” Briseño said.

When asked what she enjoys about putting on these student showcases, Briseño responded: “I love these events where I get a chance to meet some of my students’ parents and talk about what it is they are learning – It is very rewarding. Plus, I encourage my students to try and sell their work. If they plan on continuing their path in the arts, learning how to talk about and sell your work is as important as producing it.”

Aside from meeting some of the students and faculty, another highlight of the evening was seeing Megan Dill’s mixed media piece entitled “Toilet Paper Shortage”. It is always amazing to see what great work comes from all sorts of inspiration.

The Pearce Museum is located at 3100 W. Collin Street, and is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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