Mt. SAC exhibit shows animal art
Posted April 11, 2008
Troy Doolittle
Mt. SAC student Jessica McIlroy stopped by the Mt. SAC Art Gallery to check out the “Art of the Rainforest” exhibit. She said she loved the paintings of the animals in the rainforest because it reminded her of the beauty of God’s creation. The works of art were chosen for their diverse subject matter and the creative combinations of elements and principles of composition and design.

Dan Sayles
Staff Writer

Few things are so elegantly created as the paintings inside of Mt. San Antonio College’s “Art of the Rainforest” exhibit.

The exhibit, which started on March 20 and ends on May 8, has seen an impressive amount of people.

Approximately 450 people have come in to view the gallery.

“The concentration of detail and intricacies are impressive,” Debbie Bautista said, a person who was viewing the gallery along with two others. “Amazing it’s even watercolor because of the detail.”

Indeed the art gallery housed some fine works done by artists like Gamini Ratnavira, who was born in tropical Sri Lanka, and had a work depicting a panther lazing about on a branch, with many different types of plants on the rainforest floor.

The panther itself was just as detailed as the environment; you could look at its fur and see spots and dirt that it had accumulated.

The art piece showing two komodo dragons eating freshly found food was another excellent example of how finely detailed the art pieces were in the exhibit.

Everything on the large display showing the reptiles was detailed, even to the last scale on their bodies with bright, vivid details.

The amount of hard work put into the art piece was definitely noticeable.

“These paintings are sold for thousands of dollars,” gallery staff member Selena Robles said. “And it’s reflected in what you see in the paintings.”

Komodo dragons, leopards and panthers were not the only species that were on display.

Strawberry poison frogs, piranhas and various fowl were brought to life in realistic, detailed paintings.

Sculptures were on display of hyacinth macaws and snakes inside the exhibit.

“The quality of work is great,” Jessica Elizabeth said, who was also browsing through the exhibit.

“The style and quality, you just can’t imitate.”

Humanity was also given a spot in two very large paintings done by artist Mary Helsaple, showing the interaction between the wildlife of the rainforest and humans.

In the “Mythmaker,” an orange ape looks down on a smiling man, while three other explorers sit around a campfire in great detail, coloring and placement.

The gallery has generated enough attention that the curator will be opening the exhibit on special dates that fall outside the usual Tuesday through Thursday hours.

This Saturday and again on April 26, the art gallery will be open to show the paintings in the “Art of the Rain­forest” exhibit.

“It’s special because we’re never open on those days,” Robles said.

“It just goes to show how we cannot lose the rainforest for anything,” John Eras said.

“Each painting tells us about the rainforest that words cannot convey.”

The following is a list of artists who are showcasing their art in the gallery: Tucker Bailer, Anne Faust, Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen, Mary Helsaple, Mark A. Kelso, Gamini Ratnavira, Rachelle Siegrist, Wes Siegrist and Richard Sloan.

The exhibit was curated by David J. Wagner.

For more information about the show or the artists, visit or call 909-468-4050.

Dan Sayles can be reached at

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