RIVERSIDE: Museum’s drought exhibit unleashes flood of creativity


"...Perhaps nothing screams “thirsty” more than Anita Silvestri’s whimsical mixed media piece fetching $800, called “Reaching for the Last Drop.” Glued onto an empty 8-by-8-by-4-inch smoked salmon box, a faucet tantalizingly drips one jewel above an open mouth, which is a rebuilt dental plaster cast of Silvestri’s choppers.

Silvestri was among the first on Friday, Sept. 18, to drop off her work at the annual exhibit that was launched more than four decades ago to showcase the talents of museum members.

When the museum announced the topic in August, some artists, including Silvestri, scrambled to produce fresh work; others dug through their portfolios to unearth a relevant piece. Oberjuerge said this year’s exhibit drew 68 submissions, fewer than the usual 100 or so, awash in artistic interpretations from the ironic and symbolic to the abstract and humorous, using every media imaginable.

Oberjuerge said that for the past couple of years, the staff has imposed motifs: first, memory, followed by still life revisited. The pieces typically are priced from $100 to $1,000; 40 percent of proceeds support the museum. Winners of the juried competition may mount solo shows."