August 24, 2021

San Diego Mesa College Art Gallery Presents, Ludicrous Tales: A Topsy Turvy Quartet

Paintings by Gloria Muriel, sculptures by Aida Valencia and a collaborative ceramic installation by Beliz Iristay and Irene de Watteville

By Office of Communications

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On Thursday, August 26, for the first time in over 18 months, the San Diego Mesa College Art Gallery will host a Reception and Open House featuring four international artists. The Reception and Open House will be held from 11:00 am – 7:00 pm., and feature outdoor refreshments.  From 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., artist Gloria Muriel will be on-site at the gallery creating small drawings, which will be available for purchase for under $100.  Masks are required in the Gallery space, and attendees must register in advance using the following link: Attendees can park for free.

Notes from Gallery Director Alessandra Moctezuma
Our Sleeping Beauty awakens! We are finally able to open the exhibition that was set up for March 2020. The work remained undisturbed for the pandemic year and is ready for visitors. Enter a magical environment of Nature nymphs painted in Talavera colors; wander among graceful trees with dazzling mosaic flowers; feast on a sensuous banquet of surreal delights in porcelain and clay.

Visit the artists' websites:,;
Gallery Hours: T, W, TH, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm. 
Closed Mondays, Fridays, Weekends and School Holidays.
(Please email or call 619-388-2829 to reserve a time.)
Parking in STUDENT spots is FREE during Fall 2021. 
Gallery website:
In the exhibition Ludicrous Tales: A Topsy Turvy Quartet four international artists residing in our region create an enchanted environment. The luscious paintings of Gloria Muriel pair beautifully with a succulent ceramic banquet by Beliz Iristay and Irene de Watteville and wondrous mosaic trees by Aida Valencia. Visitors are invited into a space dripping in decadence and more than a dash of whimsy as magical creatures and fantastic beasts break bread.

Beliz Iristay and Irene de Watteville are both ceramic artists, from Turkey and France respectively. In 2019, the pair collaborated in a provocative and ludicrous sculptural feast. In this joint installation, each artist showcases their strengths; Iristay has extraordinary mold-making expertise and de Watteville a keen interest in detailed brushwork and intricately sculpted clay. Both share a joy for cooking and the use of blue in their work; the traditional blue in Iznik tiles from the Ottoman Empire and the classic French blue glaze. Their piece-de-resistance is a tall ceramic centerpiece; a stacked concoction of playful polychrome tiers created by both artists. Humor, sensuality, and passion permeate the surreal installation transforming the gallery into a place for communion and exchange. 

Gloria Mulriel’s vibrant murals of fairy-tale characters can be seen on urban walls around San Diego. Her canvases and drawings pulsate with dazzling colors, fluid sinewy lines, and mysterious iconography; inquisitive faces with wide-set eyes emerge and peek out from lush backgrounds woven from leaves and flowers. Muriel’s subjects emerge from her imagination and are based on the artist’s experiences and emotional states of mind. These young girls, mermaids, and nymphs honor the power of the Feminine and women’s spiritual connection to Nature. For this exhibition, Muriel utilized the brilliant cobalt, ultramarine, and turquoise blues of traditional Talavera ceramics in florid symmetrical compositions to respond to Iristay and de Watteville’s porcelain pieces. 

Standing in the midst of the gallery, metal tree sculptures by Aida Valencia are adorned with flowers and birds in multi-hued mosaics. The colorful forest of shiny cutouts titled Nature Response is part of a larger series called Fragmentada.

Tags: Press Release