‘Material, Ethereal’ alights on Brandstater Gallery

San Diego artist Cheryl Nickel created this three-dimensional work. She and artist May-ling Martinez are exhibiting in Brandstater Gallery.
San Diego artist Cheryl Nickel created this three-dimensional work. She and artist May-ling Martinez are exhibiting in Brandstater Gallery.

July 12, 2011
By Darla Martin Tucker

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – (www.lasierra.edu) Two artists from San Diego are bringing their talent to La Sierra University’s Brandstater Gallery in a show of works that merge the tangible, measureable worlds of science and technology with other-worldly realms.

In the exhibit “Material, Ethereal” Cheryl Nickel and May-ling Martinez explore the relationship with science, technology, the immaterial and the spiritual. “We strive to attain knowledge and truth as a way to decipher and/or come to terms with the known and the unknown. In this quest the spiritual and logical collide and display inherent contradictions; nevertheless, they are also intermingled,” say the artists in their statement. “It is at the boundaries of these distinct categories that interesting, dynamic action and understanding can take place. Questions, more than answers, may illuminate an expanding universe of knowledge.”

The show will be held at Brandstater Gallery today through Oct. 10. An opening reception will take place on Aug. 17, 6:30-8:30 p.m., and will feature a performance by La Sierra University adjunct faculty member and guitarist Lee Zimmer. Gallery summer hours are Monday and Wednesday, 12 – 2 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday, 2 – 4 p.m., or by appointment. Admission is free. For additional information call 951-785-2959.

One of Nickel’s works uses crutches and x-ray films to build a piece that looks like a cathedral. Another work uses test tubes arrayed in an intricate circle and radiating from a cross of middle tubes. The piece invokes images of the delicate, round rose window designs found in the old Gothic cathedrals of Europe.

Nickel holds a master’s degree in landscape architecture from Cornell University. She has exhibited installation and sculptural work in various media in California and New York. Group shows include the Johnson Art Museum in Ithaca, New York, Escondido Center for the Arts in North San Diego County and Space4Art in San Diego.  She has exhibited solo shows at Cornell University Art Galleries and at the Sushi Contemporary Performance and Visual Arts Gallery in San Diego.
Nickel’s public projects and environmental works include environmental sculptures for the Ithaca Arts Festival and design/build arts and landscape projects in parks and schools in Hawaii, New Mexico, New York, and California. Her awards include four New York State Council on the Arts grants for art, design and planning, a Cornell Council for the Creative and Performing Arts grant, San Diego State Foundation/ Price Charities, and Lowe’s Community Grant.   

Current work includes a major environmental piece under construction, “Path of the Just” at La Sierra University. The path honors humanitarian world leaders including Desmond Tutu and Mother Teresa. She is a member of Allied Craftsmen, and co-founder of Space4Art.

Martinez’s sculpture and drawings serve “as a metaphor for an innate desire to understand and control our surroundings under difficult circumstances,” the artist states.

Her work uses combinations of pre-fabricated and handmade objects. It “fuses the personal and the social, the mundane and the mysterious. Their themes and messages are often communicated in subtle form, by turn endearing and seemingly innocuous or vulnerable and repressive,” she says. Martinez describes her work as bearing an “innocence and nostalgia of the past, often filtered through archetypes of idealized 1950s suburban life, technical illustrations… [The]  artist’s own personal memories are tempered by the concreteness of logic and mechanical engineering.”

Martinez was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and currently lives and works in San Diego. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from San Diego State University and a Bachelor of Arts in communications and visual arts from San Juan’s Sacred Heart University. She has exhibited in numerous venues, including the California Center for the Arts, the La Jolla Athenaeum of Music and Arts Library, William D. Cannon Art Gallery Biennial, Galería José Pepin Méndez, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Lugar del Nopal, Tijuana, Mexico, among others. Martinez was the recipient of the 2007-2008 San Diego Art Prize in the Emerging Artist category.


PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University
Riverside, California
951.785.2460 (voice)

  • Last update on  July 12, 2011