After searching through china cabinets and junk stores, artist and alumna Shenny Cruces alters porcelain items, turning them into sculpture to expose the meaning of objects in our lives.
Cruces shared the many aspects that go into making her art during a reception in SF State’s Alumni Hall Art Gallery Friday, Sept. 19.
Her latest installation, ‘Keys,’ can be seen in the lobby of the University’s Administration Building. More than 500 porcelain molded keys are attached to the wall and hung from the ceiling, creating its own atmosphere.
“Many people come to the University to open a new door,” Cruces said to the audience. She described the meaning of the key to resemble students coming to the University in hopes of a new beginning and bright future.
Cruces received her Master of Fine Arts from SF State in 2011. Since then, she has taught and exhibited widely.
Cruces said the art of collecting is an intrinsic part of her practice and work. She uses recognizable objects associated with collecting and china cabinets to engage with the viewer’s sense of home and memory. The keys used in the installation were collected from the Palo Alto Art Center.
“The ‘Keys’ exhibition is a conceptual artwork that is a meditation on intimacy and the passing of knowledge,” said Mark Johnson, professor and director of the Fine Arts Gallery. Johnson also said the installation space allows visitors to know that alumni are engaged as professional artists who continued their practice after graduation.
At least one student, G.V. Kelley, has been inspired by Cruces’ art and said Cruces offered guidance and support when he got the chance to work with her during his studies.
“I love her work,” Kelley said. “It is delicate and beautiful in many ways that you don’t realize until you really focus on the art.”
In addition to the larger installation, there is a smaller piece of Cruces’ work in the art office where students can write down their name in exchange for a porcelain key.
The Alumni Hall is a rotating exhibition program of work by graduates of the Master of Fine Art program at the University. A new installation is featured each semester.
Cruces’ ‘Keys’ exhibit is the second ceramic installation that has displayed since the program was created three years ago by a MA graduate student.
“It took someone to be super inspired to start the program,” said Sharon Bliss, associate director of the Fine Arts Gallery. “It is a chance for art to be spread all throughout campus.”