Couple displays art inside Jones Gallery

Graham C Wheat, Reporter


The most recent art exhibit at the Wylie and May Louise Jones Gallery in the Bakersfield College library, featured two artists who share something special, a marriage.

Making their home in Visalia, and originally from Dinuba, artists Aime and Matthew Rangel produced the exhibit aptly named “In Tandem,” which ran Sept. 13 through Oct. 4. The exhibit featured Matthew’s lithographs, a type of large printing using a steel plate, of his journey through the Black Kaweah mountain range in the Sierra Nevada. Using old maps, notes and his own drawing, he creates a personal journey, creating a sense of place, something very important to him.

Aime’s large-scale drawings on linen are of impersonal agriculture spaces near their home.

The artistic couple, married since 2003, has spent much of their lives and career with each other. Both artists grew up together, attending the same high school and then subsequent colleges. The Rangels both attended College of the Sequoias, CSU Long Beach, and then received their masters in Fine Arts degrees from the University of Alberta.

The Rangels have spent much of their lives with one another.

“We got together in high school, and have stayed together since. We both shared the same educational path,” said Aime.

The couple shares a studio in their home. “In July of 2009, we were looking for a house, and found one that had a daycare in the converted garage. We turned that into our studio space,” said Aime.

Both artists concede more space to the other when one has a show.

Both artists have had many solo and group exhibitions during their career and have also done exhibitions together in the past.

While Matthew specializes in lithography, combining old maps with his own sketches and journal documents to depict an area, Aime’s work at the gallery was primarily figure drawing, showcasing large-scale renditions of the dairy industry.

Although their work is quite different from each other’s, both artists admit that they share more than just vows.

“I think we share the same sensibilities,” said Aime. “We had a lot of the same professors during our academic path. Our sensitivity to drawing has been a

main focus; whether it is through lithograph, or my work, say charcoal on linen, drawing has been our strong point.”

While Aime was studying as a fine artist in high school, Matthew said that he focused more on drafting than fine art. However, when he attended College of the Sequoias he gained his “artistic vision.”

“When I started taking art classes at COS, suddenly I started to see, before I never really noticed, the relationships and complexity with our land.

“This whole new level of intrigue opened up to me, and I was inspired by this view, the Sierra Nevada. It really hit me in a profound way.”

That epiphany did not leave him. “Even when I was in Los Angeles or Alberta, I was thinking about investigating what I was missing here,” said Matthew referring to the mountain range in California.

“The further away we moved the more intense the desire for that investigation became.” Matthew wanted that sense of place to transmit through his artwork.

The couple has also found other benefits from being married to someone of their own profession.

“We influence each other through conversations about our art and this has been important,” said Matthew. “When you are a in a studio by yourself you don’t have as much critical feedback. It isn’t just ‘Oh that looks good.’ We are both professionals and

very serious about how we address each other’s work.”

Even though his work is lithography, Matthew said the need for the artists hand is critical in making it personal and reaching the audience.

Aime’s most recent work was influenced by the dairy industry in the central valley. She also credits her time in graduate school at the University of Alberta.

“There was a swine research center in Alberta and I got access to it,” she said. “After drawing the pigs for a while, the space is what became powerful. You had to shower before you went into the place and they provided you with clothes. These animals became a sacred thing.

“I grew up catholic and it reminded me of the same rituals.”

Her newest art depicts a milk production barn in Pixley. “Since I have been back in California, I have been dealing a lot with cows. It is such a huge industry in the central valley,” said Aime. “My intuition compels me to change and adapt what I am creating to accommodate what I am surrounded by.”

Neither artist has dealt with rivalry issues even though they share the same studio space, both saying it is constructive criticism.

“We are not the same people as when we met each other. We are part of the same character that brought us together. We grew together as more reflective, sophisticated artists,” said Matthew. “When you are with somebody and they don’t appreciate what you do, you might grow apart. When we learn something new we share that passion, and inform each other, growing together.”

The next showcase will show student artwork starting April 12 running to May 3, featuring 71 pieces from 2011-2012.