Modern art at Colusa gallery show

The Colusa County Arts Council on Saturday hosted two artists whose exhibition of paintings, collages, textile art, and – yes – food was on display. 

Sierra Reading, a native of Colusa, and Ross Roadruck, a native of the Midwest, were celebrated at a well-attended reception at the Arts Council’s Market Street gallery on Jan 19. 

The couple met at the Maryland Institute College of Art, where Reading, who graduated from Colusa High School in 2008, earned her bachelor’s degree in textiles. 

Both work within the education field in the Bay Area. 

Roadruck’s paintings were created using leftover paint from his students in his middle school classroom. He also makes collages from leftover construction paper. 

“This was a way to salvage paint and minimize waste, and archive the act of teaching and learning for both myself and students,” he said. 

Reading’s artwork was created during a candlelight conversation, in which wax was allowed to drop to a large piece of cloth and then allowed to dry, before she dyed it in a vat of indigo so that the wax would be exposed. 

Reading believes the process allows the cloth to actually gain strength, just as people gain strength from the exercise. 

“The more we talk to each other, the more we can learn from one another – gaining strength from our shared experiences,” Reading said. 

Reading also served a rice salad, with pomegranate seeds, along with green leaf soup and butternut squash soup, which when dropped on the crisp white linen made a brilliant splash of color. 

Reading said consuming and sharing food is an example of the pattern of life, and that the act of making art is a public activity in creating an interaction with objects and people. 

Sharon Reische said the Arts Council, particularly artist and fellow member Brendan Farrell, has stressed getting younger artists with brilliant ideas to help inspire younger audiences to love and appreciate art. 

“Brendan has done an amazing job of getting us new artists,” she said. 

Young and old alike, however, enjoyed Saturday’s reception. 

Reading’s childhood best friend Brittany Bentz, who is now a teacher in Chico, said both Reading and Roadruck’s art has inspired her to repurpose classroom items like leftover paint and construction paper so that her students can turn them into meaningful art. 

She also said she has watched Reading grow and finds it fascinating how she incorporates the activities of people into her art. 

“Art with textiles and food is not common,” Bentz said. “I’m pretty proud of her.” 

Reische said the Arts Council is again applying for a state grant to help promote art in Colusa County, and appreciates the support from the community for its programs.  

The Art Council also plans more activities in the coming year, including art classes with guest artists. ■