Gualala Arts logo


Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014

Dolphin Gallery and Shop - logo

Steve Chell, decorative mirrors &
Dean Thompson, decorative art

Opening Reception: Saturday, February 2, 2013, 5:00 p.m.
Exhibit remains through February 27
Dolphin Gallery

The February 2013 exhibit at the Dolphin Gallery features mixed media artist Steve Chell and furniture artist, ceramicist and sculptor Dean Thompson. The opening night reception is on Saturday, February 2 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. and the show runs through Wednesday, February 27.

About Dean Thompson

furniture by Dean Thompson Dean Thompson's work combines ancient influences with modern forms. He seeks a creation that is both artistic and practical. This exhibit, titled Dots, Pots, Thoughts, and Sculpture achieves these goals.

Drawing on traditional shapes, the pots are hand-built slab construction vessels that Thompson wants to be both sculptural and functional. He also makes clay masks that draw on ancient motifs. He wants their form to be both pleasing to the eye and to evoke ancient cultures. All his pieces are low-fired in an electric kiln.

The dots are inspired by various shapes Thompson has discovered in his travels around the world. He first found inspiration in the Mexican "animales" figures decorated with vivid dots. He then discovered the "dreamtime" paintings of Australia's aborigine that also include dots. Now he finds the same patterns throughout the world from Scandinavia to areas of the United States.

His decorated pieces of furniture continue his efforts to combine art and function. He finds furniture and refurbishes it before adding his distinctive decorations. Once again he is drawn to folk traditions and the use of colorful dots.

furniture by Dean Thompson Another practical application for his artistic expression is using handmade papers collected from around the world to produce hand-bound journals. He has used papers from Egypt, Peru, Guatemala and Southeast Asia to name a few sources. These he hand-sews into useful journals where one can record thoughts.

Recently, his interests include concrete sculptures. He learned the technique from classes at Mendocino Community College. The material is applied to shaped armatures and the piece is either left in its natural state or painted.

Thompson credits his grandmother with forming the basis of his aspirations to be an artist. He recalls sitting beside her as she either wove on a giant loom or painted still life pictures. This experience opened the world of art and craft, another example of combining the aesthetic and the practical.

His work has garnered a number of prizes, first at the 2004 Art in the Redwoods (AIR) sculpture category and most recently in the 2010 AIR show where he won first place in the collage/mixed media category. He and his wife Laura reside in The Sea Ranch.

mirror by Steve Chell

About Steve Chell

This is the third time Steve Chell has exhibited his Mixed Media Mirrors at the Dolphin Gallery. His combination of mirror and strips of textured glass, flame-treated copper, digital photos, and exotic hardwoods have been popular here and in other northern California galleries.

Steve will present all new mirrors at this show. They typically range in size from 5"X5" to 2'X6' and have enhanced decors that are contemporary, Asian, craftsman or even traditional. Inspired by a chance encounter with an old mirror stuck away at the Furniture Mart in San Francisco, Chell began experimenting until he refined his mixed media vision and formed "reflektions - mixed media mirrors."

photo by Steve Chell For 2013, Steve also will introduce a variety of his abstract photographs. His photos highlight fascinating shapes, colors and textures such as those found in the rusted metal of an iron gate, the light beamed through a fused glass vase, or the granular sand on a deserted beach.

Steve points his camera at places where we rarely look - the graffiti left on an abandoned railroad car, the ripples down a rock water fountain or the reflective ripples from a department store glass lamp base. He calls his work "painting a picture in pixels." He has named his photo work "abstraktions - the lens as a palette."

Chell and his wife Carol, a watercolor artist, moved to Gualala in September 2006. Anyone interested in more information on his work may contact him via email at

The Dolphin Gallery is located at 39225 Highway One in downtown Gualala, CA
(behind the post office on the south side). Open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-3896 for more information.