Dee Marcellus Cole and Carnival Seekers
Friday, August 4 – November 26, 2017
Claremont Museum of Art at the Depot
Dee Marcellus Cole, a self-proclaimed faux-folk artist, creates vibrant sculptures constructed of wood and layered paper at her home in Upland in 2017.
Known as the “Goddess of Pomona,” Dee is an artist focused primarily on papier-mâché sculpture. She was an instructor at the University of La Verne and an Artist in Residence for San Bernardino County. She has led many workshops at venues ranging from the Maloof Foundation to the California State Woman’s Prison, and has received much acclaim for her pieces. Most recently, she was awarded Artist of the Year at the Chaffey Community Museum of Art in Ontario.
Inspired by her many travels to Mexico, Guatemala and throughout South America, Dee will transform the Claremont Depot into a carnival of bright colors, iconic images, and spiritual messages. She has chosen to collaborate with some of Claremont and Pomona’s most distinctive artists for this exhibition including Johnnie Dominguez, Cathy Garcia, Sandy Garcia, Karen and John Neiuber, Christian Ornelas and Dan Romero to highlight celebration, in all shapes and forms.
Dee Marcellus Cole earned an MA in art from the Claremont Graduate School in 1984 and taught at La Verne University for twelve years. Known as the Goddess of the Pomona Art Colony she has inspired generations of artists, hosted studio tours, presented workshops and been exhibited in numerous solo shows.
Claremont Museum of Art, 200 W. 1st St, Claremont
August 4 – November 26, 2017
The exhibition, generously sponsored by Gould Asset Management LLC.
About the Artists
Dee Marcellus Cole
Known as the Goddess of Pomona, Dee is an artist focused primarily on papier-mâché sculpture. She was a professor at the University of La Verne, Chaffey College, and a Partner of Art in San Bernardino County Ontario. She has led many workshops ranging from the Maloof Foundation to the California State Woman’s Prison, and has received much acclaim for her pieces. Most recently, she was awarded Artist of the Year at the Chaffey Community Museum of Art in Ontario.
Many travels to visit folk artists in Mexico, Central and South America have influenced my work. I observed folk artists using influences, colors and designs.
Paper is my primary material. The pieces are constructed on a wooden armature. I then apply the paper to lightweight cardboard to give the pieces form. In order to give the piece strength, it is stuffed with newspaper.
The textiles and potter I have collected from Latin American countries inspire the colors, designs, and textures used in my art.
I see the work as whimsical and containing the best of life.
Johnnie Dominguez is a fine art surreal illustrator.
Using primarily a Papermate ballpoint pen as the weapon of choice, I use personal experiences throughout my life from private school and foster care all the way to stab wounds and frozen yogurt to put bullet holes in the hypocrisy of the popular narrative. With a keen eye to spot the ugliness in a loving man’s heart, I reveal the dangers of diversity without law served up on a smorgasbord of degeneracy.
His newest work is visually representative of a positive alternative to his aforementioned series of works, sprinkled with hits of order and discipline, with a dash of proud Western chauvinism.
Cathy is a self-taught mosaic artist who has worked in this medium for over 12 years. A psychotherapist by training she graduated from Cal Poly, Pomona and received her Masters at Phillips Graduate Institute in Encino, California. She maintained both a private practice and was employed by the County of San Bernardino as a Marriage and Family Therapist until she retired in 2007. Her mosaic work has been displayed in over 40 art shows and she was featured in 5 one- woman shows.
I love color and enjoy combining textures and shapes to bring vibrancy, movement and life to my pieces. A key component is to reinvent the old and unused into a thing of beauty. A “treasure hunt” for my supplies takes me to yard sales, thrift shops and friend’s garages. The mosaic process is similar to building a jigsaw puzzle without a map. The pieces unfold themselves. My current passion is creating human busts and animal figures which seem to have personalities of their own.
Born in El Paso, Texas, and raised in East Los Angeles, exposure to Latino Chicano art inspired Sandy to pursue colorful and simple works of art.
As she paints, her attraction to Mexico’s bright colors become her pallet. Her expressions on faces, spirits of birds and nature are a few deep connections of her interpretation of Folk Art. She shares her passion with others with Folk Art Painting workshops.
My goal is to eliminate barriers that divide people from each other by focusing on the passion, emotion, and humanity we all share. In order to do this, I prefer the free, bold expressions of strong brush strokes and the vibrant colors associated with traditional folk art, these are elements that appeal more directly to the senses. I consider my art to be spiritual because I want to reflect a notion of freedom of the soul. My form of communication is to write with a paintbrush so that others can read it.
My desires are my paintings to become beautiful things in one’s private surroundings. Enjoy as you encounter my beautiful culture with the love of Folk Art.
John was born in Wisconsin and grew up in Southern California. He did his undergraduate and graduate studies at California State University San Bernardino. He has worked in the music industry, public education and is currently a chief executive officer for a nonprofit children’s agency, in addition to his volunteer work with community groups.
John creates custom, one-of-a-kind, artistic light fixtures, using recycled materials and found objects. He currently resides in the Claremont Village where he shares a studio with his wife, Karen.
When I was a child I would collect any small electric appliance, light fixture or gadget that anyone was throwing away. I would combine elements from my various finds and create something new. I was often told that the things I created did not serve a purpose. But they did; they all provided light in some way.
Years later when I wanted a light fixture that was unique or to serve a certain purpose, I would make it, because what I envisioned could not be purchased. Today, I still take found pieces and combine them into light fixtures. I may make a pair of table lamps or floor lamps, but otherwise I don’t mass produce pieces; they are always hand painted and decorated—they are all one of a kind.
I have had no formal art training. I have experimented with painting, collage and assemblages, all of which have found their way into the illumination pieces I create. I suppose the lack of formal training makes my pieces folk art, along with the use of found objects. I like to inject humor and social commentary into my pieces, typically with the decoration or the title of the piece.
My inspiration, however, is derived from functional art and design. The various light fixture and other parts in my studio are sorted by purpose, and as I work, the parts just seem to find one another. I make them to light, create mood and have function. If someone then likes the combination of light, design and color, the piece has found a home.
Karen was born in San Francisco. She has a BA in art from Cal State Fullerton. After retiring from 40 years in public education as an elementary teacher and District Curriculum Administrator she is using her art background to delve into colors and textures by producing monoprints and ceramic assemblages. She currently resides in the Claremont Village where she shares a studio with her husband, John.
My art is about texture – mixing various textures to form a cohesive whole. Using mosaic, I explore themes ranging from religion to the power of nature by way of the icon. By placing famous symbols next to everyday objects, I transform the well-known images into something wholly unique. It’s not that I’m deeply religious or spiritual; it is by combining prints, tile, ceramics, everyday objects, textiles and metal I create an inventive, sometimes defiant new perspective. Because these altered symbols are approached in new ways, I don’t take them seriously. If there is meaning to be derived from my work, I leave that up to the viewer – since meaning is arrived at differently for every individual.
My name is Christian “Neighbor Kid” Ornelas. I am a 20-year-old artist that resides in Pomona, California. I began to learn to make sculptures when I was 14 under renowned sculptor Dan Romero. Since then I have accomplished many things to better my craft. I graduated from The Fab School in Rancho Cucamonga in 2016, where I became a certified welder and fabricator. I consider myself to be an artist for I am working to better myself and my work. As a creator you are able to do more. You can use your power to build something tremendous.
Dan Romero is a metal sculptor who primarily works in large public sculptures. These are often kinetic.
What I like about sculpture is that it escapes no form of physics. I mean, it has to stand there all on its own and be art from all sides and all angles. Everything has to actually work if it is a kinetic. It has a purpose for being there, with a job to do. It’s a real thing that should last for centuries in this way.
This work of sculpture requires the full time involvement of Dan and Dina Romero. Their work can be seen at the Google Campus in Venice Beach, Calnetics Corp. (a Mitsubishi subsidiary), Ontario City Hall, Ed Hales Park in Redlands, Ordruff Germany, the Maloof Foundation in Alta Loma, La Verne, and the Orange County Fair.