SAN LUIS OBISPO – The Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery at Cuesta College announces the opening of the Certain Matter group exhibition featuring artwork by local, national, and international artists that examines the intersection of abstraction and materiality in contemporary art. The exhibit opens on Aug. 18 and runs through Oct. 14.

Certain Matter provides viewers with a bright, vivid, and engaging opportunity to explore contemporary abstraction, weaving together the works of nine multidisciplinary artists featuring paintings, sculpture, ceramics, and digital artwork. The exhibit focuses on the material’s role in each artwork’s capacity for expression as both the subject, the idea the work is about, and the object, the physical artwork itself.

Artists featured include Alexis Arnold, David McDonald, Sarah Mikenis, Christopher Pate, Linda Sormin, Connie Martin Trevino, John Trevino, Amy Vensel, and Garet Zook. 

Alexis Arnold

“I transform and utilize a variety of analog materials and processes to create stationary works that seem digitally produced, alter optically, or appear kinetic through the movement of light or viewers.”

David McDonald

“The goals across my works are similar, but differentiations come from the variety of materials, their interconnectedness, and the variety of methods that are applied to those materials. Sculpture that is not a metaphor, nor a narrative, nor a depiction, only what it is.”

Sarah Mikenis

“I allowed myself not to know what the paintings were going to be for a long time. I focused my time and energy on building the sculptural form. I worked more slowly, more purposefully, more attentively to the sculptural aspect of my practice. I thought more about movement, and about specific actions as I created the sculptural canvases. I began anchoring the canvas down at certain points with heavy buckets or furniture around the studio and then pulling in opposite directions. Now the canvas holds a record of that tension, of pulling against resistance, of pushing, of the action making it. My body and touch seem more present in these works.”

Amy Vensel

“Employing custom-made tools similar to concrete trowels, I methodically build up layers of acrylic polymer and pigment to create a variety of surfaces – from smooth lustrous planes that echo the backlit screens of today’s digital landscape to thick, hazy films that obscure the painting’s history.”

Garet Zook

“I explore and take from all that is abandoned and forgotten, yet rich with clues to a past that seems both romantic and harsh, whether it’s from the shine on a piece of metal caused from many years of handling to the charred surface of a piece of Manzanita wood that has been through a forest fire. Nothing chosen is unintentional, much is left to chance, and discovery is my paramour.”

The opening reception for Certain Matter is on Thursday, Aug. 18, from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery on the Cuesta College San Luis Obispo campus. An artist panel is scheduled from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. in Room 6304. Live streaming of the event is also available at

Admission to the gallery is free. Please visit the gallery webpage or call (805) 546-3202 for a schedule of exhibits and hours of operation.