The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

Art Professor and Students Collaborate to Produce DVC Exhibit “Sabbatical”


Based on experiences throughout his life — and his recent sabbatical spent touring around in a small RV — art professor Leo Bersamina has brought a colorfully unique project to Diablo Valley College.

His art show, titled “Sabbatical,” which opened last month and runs through Thursday, Oct. 5, showcases works he produced in that one-year period. Bersamina will host a closing reception and talk on Oct. 5 between 4-7 p.m. at the DVC art gallery, located in the new art complex adjacent to Parking Lot 9.

The gallery room’s lighting blends well with the work, bringing out the rich colors, layers and patterns present in Bersamina’s paintings and mixed media sculptures. The show also includes an intriguing video, set up in a small theater in a dark corner of the room, which depicts how he spent his sabbatical.

But according to fellow DVC art professor and gallery coordinator Arthur King, the exhibit isn’t just a one man show: it’s the result of a collaboration with a team of students hired as assistants to help Bersamina create his work.

“Not only was the art for his sabbatical, it was part of a public project,” said King. “It was outreach for DVC and it was also giving real-time job skills to students from the program.”

In the end, the work they collectively produced over the course of a year helped spotlight the entire art department.

“This time away was spent creating something that would tell a story, include students, and bring something back to the culture of DVC,” King added.

According to his website, Bersamina began to study art and design while living in Santa Cruz. He later got his Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in studio art from San Francisco State University and his MFA in painting from the Yale School of Art. 

Before arriving at DVC, Bersamina taught studio art at prestigious academies such as Yale, Stanford, UC Berkeley and Pont-Aven School of Contemporary Art in France. He continues to show his art nationally and internationally, and his work can be found in many private and corporate collections.

Explaining his current show, Bersamina wrote, “some of the work is still in progress, while some are completed ideas.”

“The studio projects are corporate commissions (Adobe Inc.  Birkenstock), public art proposals (SFAC, City of Napa), experiments, and completed paintings based on observations from travels to places of importance to me in my small RV,” he wrote.

Bersamina said he seeks to show experiences in life as they apply to his art.

“I look for patterns we create during our living: relationships with natural forces and objects, models created through encounters with other people… with my work, I hope to communicate simplicity and complexity simultaneously,” Bersamina wrote.

The show, which ends Thursday, is among numerous exhibits DVC hosts during the academic year. According to King, each event contributes something to the DVC community and culture.

“Most of the shows we have are meant to in some way inform, educate, or share information about what we do here at DVC and the programs that we have, and the different types of art-making that is available,” said King.

“We’re really excited to be able to have something we could show off to the public,” he added, and also “show off to our DVC community.”

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About the Contributor
Soren Stanton, Staff Writer

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