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Fabric of Life stitches unique exhibit

The Blue Core Gallery in Pomona hosted the opening reception for “Fabric of Life – All Our Relations” on Saturday. The artists, Cindy Rinne and Penny McElroy, use household fabrics in their work creating colorful collages. The reception also featured poetry readings and live music by gallery owner Steve Ruiz. / photo by Christopher Guzman

The Blue Core Gallery in Pomona hosted the opening reception for “Fabric of Life – All Our Relations” on Saturday. The artists, Cindy Rinne and Penny McElroy, use household fabrics in their work creating colorful collages. The reception also featured poetry readings and live music by gallery owner Steve Ruiz. / photo by Christopher Guzman

Rachel Smith
Staff writer

Vivid colors, beautiful patterns and intense emotions were the stars of the evening at the Pomona Art Colony’s artwalk. Cindy Rinne and Penny McElroy were the featured artists Saturday evening at the Blue Core Gallery.

The gallery was full of people eager to soak in the amazing works of these two local artists.

“Very different and unique,” Jose “Red” Diaz, said Pomona resident and musician attending the exhibit.

Rinne’s vibrant colors and beautiful patterns were the eye-catching components of the pieces she had on display. Her use of poetry and painting were also featured in her one-of-a-kind fiber creations.

“I draw with a sewing machine, I don’t draw it out first,” Rinne said. “I hand embroider accents and each piece is different.”

Nature is a major inspiration for her artwork, Rinne said. She often takes long walks in the San Bernardino Mountains near her home. Collecting pieces of nature and incorporating them in her gallery keeps her close to nature, Rinne said.

“The things I see in nature inspire me,” Rinne said.

Collage was the major theme for both artists. McElroy’s collage creations were some of the works she has created over the past few years.

“It’s kind of an evolution of my work,” McElroy said.

Vivacious colors, intricate details and bold imagery called to viewers to take part in a trip through the mysterious world she created. The “Measure the Wind in Stanzas” piece incorporated attractive colors that grabbed the viewer and demanded their attention.

“She stands out from the artists I’ve seen around here,” Diaz said of McElroy.

Rinne’s “Three Sisters Mountains” is a unique piece that integrates many different processes, from stamping to painting and embroidery to couching. The exclusive pieces never follow a pattern.

“I don’t follow patterns.” Rinne said. “Each work is it’s own journey.”

“The ‘Break the Glass Cover on your Heart’ by McElroy is a thought provoking piece,” Diaz said.

McElroy’s piece has a sense of darkness. The seemingly dead young figure accompanied by the painted army men and finally the toy army man figure, can leave a chilling feeling with the viewer.

“You should be able to look at art and make a connection,” McElroy said. “It’s really great when it haunts you.”

McElroy’s inspirations for her art are her past as a social worker and language.

She spends many hours reading and enjoys the delicate and precise words. She really appreciates the words she reads.

“I consider my work to be somewhat autobiographical,” McElroy said.

The evening was mainly focused on the two featured artists, but music was also on the tap. Steve Ruiz, The Blue Core Gallery owner, was also showcasing his talents.

Ruiz intrigued the audience with his musical abilities as he played his wooden flute. A friend playing guitar accompanied Ruiz in the melodic exhibit. The harmonious sounds appealed to the crowd as more foot traffic converged upon the gallery.

The Blue Core Gallery has been open for a little over a year and Ruiz has really focused on bringing quality artists to his venue. He also has worked closely with other gallery owners to really spice up the area.

“We just lit up the place, the signs and lights really attract the people,” Ruiz said.

The two artists Ruiz showcased for the Second Street crowd was a refreshing delight. The two women provided the viewers with an opportunity to escape into a world of artistry at its best.

Rinne has been creating her art for more than 25 years.

She has been focusing on her fiber art for the past 15 years. Before her fiber works, watercolors and acrylics were her medium of choice. This San Bernardino resident makes connections with the people through her art.

“People will send me fabric or stop me and give me fabric,” Rinne said.

Rinne often includes some of the items she has received into the pieces she has created.

McElroy has spent more than 25 years creating art and has been teaching locally at the University of Redlands since 1986.

For more information on Cindy Rinne visit fiberverse.com and for Penny McElroy visit magpieseye.com.

For upcoming exhibits at the Blue Core Gallery visit thebluecoregallery.com.

Rachel Smith can be reached at rachel.smith@laverne.edu.

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