Art Gallery

Exhibiting outstanding work by established and emerging artists and offering San Diego's only hands-on program in Museum Studies and Gallery Management.



Reshaping the 2% - Contemporary Ceramics

Brian Benfer, Ianna Frisby, Joanne Hayakawa,

Rebecca Manson, Brad Schwieger and Julie York

February 2 – 26, 2015

Reception: Thursday, February 12, 5 - 7 pm, Art Gallery D101

               Artist Lecture with Julie York,

             following reception in G101, 7 pm

Curated by San Diego Mesa College professor Nathan Betschart, Reshaping the 2%, is a contemporary ceramics exhibition featuring artists with a novel interpretation of the medium—both visually and conceptually. While clay materials are heavily mined and utilized in a myriad of present day applications, utilization specifically for art purposes comprises an astoundingly small percentage, just two per cent.  These renowned artists contribute to that number as they reshape what we know to be contemporary ceramics.

Brian Benfer utilizes a porcelaneous composite for the fabrication of a specially formulated “chalk” that he then uses to draw on an expansive chalkboard painted surface directly applied to the gallery walls. The pixilated drawings that he generates are reminiscent of the “white noise” on a static television screen or representative of ubiquitous QR codes. The chalkboard has become an archaic method of communication and Benfer’s frenetic markings serve as indicators of our shift into a digital age. In a similar vein, artist Ianna Frisby uses the old craft of decorative porcelain to comment on current cultural issues. She transforms Darth Vader into a flowery benevolent overlord and attempts to erase the dark past lurking behind a lovely image of a Southern plantation: the “white guilt” becomes decorative “gilt” on a dish/platter.

San Diego artist Joanne Hayakawa has been interested in contrasting dualities and the connection between the individual and the natural environment. In these works she pairs body parts with elements from nature: for example, in Aspiration, lungs become a symbol of both frailty and strength and the branches symbolize a connection with larger world. Rebecca Manson also draws from the human body. The forms and marks in her artwork originate in the remarkable structure that all of us share, our humble skeleton. Bones, often seen as inert and lifeless, are celebrated by being woven into lush configurations. This gesture also alludes to the fact that tight connections between individuals result in a strong communal structure.

In the past year, Brad Schwieger’s work has addressed an interest in architectural landscapes, usually cityscapes, and the surrounding industrial areas. In these pieces, he combines wheel-throwing technique with mold making and slip casting to generate forms such as cylinders and drainage pipes. The results are both sculptural and vessel oriented, and they evoke the miniature and the monumental and the possibilities that exist within design and function. Julie York is a sculptor from Canada who uses traditional materials in a non-traditional way that is both visual and contemplative. Her white on white delicately rendered structures draw from the history of ceramics and from her research into materials, skill, labor and perceptions. York engineers environments with recognizable forms that are presented in a way that challenges the understanding of how we see and what we see.

San Diego based artist Brian Benfer and Joanne Hayakawa will speak about their work on the evening of the reception.

For info on the artists visit their websites:

Brian Benfer: 

Ianna Frisby: 

Joanne Hayakawa:

Rebecca Manson:

Brad Schwieger:

Welcome to the gallery:

Welcome to the San Diego Mesa College Art Gallery. The gallery exhibits outstanding work by contemporary artists and showcases artwork created by San Diego Mesa College students. The gallery is located in room D101.

For up to the minute info and events check out our FB page:

Mesa College Art Gallery

GALLERY HOURS: MTW 11 am - 4 pm, Thursday, 11 am - 8 pm
Closed Fridays, weekends and school holidays.

Visitors may schedule an appointment to view exhibit when the gallery is closed. We need a week advance notice to schedule special visits. To schedule email

The galley is closed during summer. Also closed for Thanksgiving, Spring Break and Winter Break when the college is not in session.

PARKING IS FREE ON RECEPTION NIGHT. Park in the upper faculty parking areas adjacent and across from the flagpole. During regular gallery hours: From the Marlesta entrance purchase a permit from the machine at the information booth to be used only in the student lots. Or use the visitors' 45 minute spaces in the upper parking area across from the flagpole. (Find additional parking info at

To receive email press releases and gallery announcements, or to be placed on our mailing list, please email Alessandra Moctezuma, Gallery Director, at

Gallery Mission:

The Mesa College Art Gallery is an educational forum to present the work of professional artists in a range of media and dealing with diverse issues. The gallery also showcases outstanding artwork created by students in the Art Department.

It is our mission to enrich and engage our student community through art. The gallery exhibits are complemented with artist lectures, workshops, and guided tours.

The works on display reflect a variety of topics in order to engage students from other disciplines and departments. We have created exhibits in collaboration with Chicano Studies, Women Studies and the Black Studies department.

The gallery serves as a laboratory for the Art Department's Museum Studies Program. The college is the only San Diego institution to offer an AA and a Certificate of Performance in Museum Studies/Gallery Exhibition Skills.

During the academic year four exhibits features art by emerging and established contemporary artists.

A student exhibition is held at the end of every semester. Besides exhibits in our main space, D101, the Art Gallery program and the Museum Studies classes also curate exhibits in locations around San Diego. Past exhibits have been curated as Space4Art, San Diego Art Department, Mission Valley Library, Claire de Lune, Voz Alta and San Diego Contemporary Art Fair 2013 and 2014. Check out our Museum Studies page on FB: San Diego Mesa College Museum Studies.


Alessandra Moctezuma,Gallery Director,Museum Studies
Call Pat Vine, Art Gallery Assistant
Ph.(619) 388-2829

7250 Mesa College Drive -D101 San Diego, CA 92111-4998

Artist Submissions:

Download Artist Guidelines: Artist Submissions Guidelines