Former WBU art students revisit Abraham Gallery for art exhibit

PLAINVIEW – Esther Gonzalez and Adam Pena were familiar faces around the Wayland Baptist University art department while students here. After a few years away, the two will revisit the campus for an art exhibit in the Abraham Art Gallery running Dec. 1-15.

Gonzalez’ show is titled “A Call to Repentance” and features a mix of poetry with photography, pastel and charcoal drawings, digital art and mixed media from the former Plainview resident, all following a theme of the journey to fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

“We have all searched, or will search, for fulfillment while knowing all too well that no human can consistently provide that inherent need and desire,” said Gonzalez. “Even as a Christian I have searched inside and out but inevitably returned to what I already knew to be true, and that is Christ’s fulfillment.”

Gonzalez earned a bachelor’s degree in art from Wayland in 2003 and will complete an associate’s degree in photography from Amarillo College in May 2007. She has competed in the Photographer’s Forum Best of College Photography contest and was a finalist each time. She worked as a reporter and photographer for the Plainview Daily Herald as well, placing third in the feature photography category in 2003. She also taught art at Plainview Christian Academy for the 2004-05 school year.

Speaking of her artistic style, Gonzalez said she relies heavily upon observation and human interaction to inspire her artwork.

“Observation has always been one of my greatest assets, and recording these observations through symbols or the written word naturally followed,” she said. “Early on I was content to remain in the background, but in recent years I find myself becoming more of a front-line participant in the world around me by opening up to the true joys and pains of this life.”

A native of Plainview, Pena has titled his show “Origins/Transitions.” He said the title comes from introspection he’s done as an artist, particularly delving into his own family history and culture and his place in the art world.

“I have ventured into different painting styles and artists and trying to figure out where I fit into all this,” he said. “My style is more abstract and involves playing with shapes and forms to convey a message. It’s really a visual history recreated in a painting, with imagery from the Meso-American culture.”

Pena said he relies on strong content and thinks out each piece thoroughly,           using language and cultures as heavy themes. A few pieces are done on wood fencing, using the metaphor of the fence as a theme as well. His exhibit pieces are primarily oil painting, with a few printmaking pieces as well.

Pena attended Wayland and Texas Tech and is now completing his degree at the University of Texas at Arlington, graduating in May 2007 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in studio art. While in Arlington, he has exhibited his work in commercial and non-profit galleries such as the Hue Gallery and the Fort Worth Community Art Center. He is a curator for Gallery West, a space run by the UTA Student Art Association and a silk-screener.

In addition to Pena and Gonzalez’ work, the exhibit will feature a few pieces by Cheyne Peck, a California native and a friend of Gonzalez. The son of artist and musician Joel Peck, Cheyne formed an interest in all forms of art, imitating his father and, he said, “hoping to one day be as great as him.” Typical teenage turmoil led to some soul searching, and, through friends, Peck found Christ as his savior in 2002. His artwork focuses on seeing Christ in all things, and his pieces include acrylic as well as pencil and chalk.

“From a homeless man on the street to being in the midst of the fire, see Christ and give glory in all things,” he said. “In all aspects of life, what we do, what we see, what we eat and what we speak, whether people are around us or in secret, it is not just for Christ or about Christ, it is Christ.”

A reception for the artists is planned for Dec. 3 from 1:30-4 p.m. in the Abraham Gallery, located in the lower level of the Mabee Learning Resources Center. The show is free to the public during regular library hours: Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday 2-5 p.m. For more information, call the gallery at 291-3710.