Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat

Columbia College will honor art professor Laurie Sylwester at a reception Friday, the last day of her Peruvian art show.

The exhibit, titled "Peru: The Ancient, the Sacred - Architecture, Ceramics and Textiles - Photographic Explorations by Laurie Sylwester," has been on display in the Manzanita Building Rotunda since Aug. 20.

Viewing hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

A reception for Sylwester will begin at 6 p.m. Friday in the rotunda. It will be followed by an artist's talk at 7 p.m. in Cedar 1.

In addition, Sylwester will speak at the Central Sierra Arts Council in Sonora at 2 p.m. Saturday.

All events are open to the public at no charge.

The college exhibit is a selection of images and artifacts radiating with the colors of the region.

"The Peruvian people have such a connection with their Andean landscape," Sylwester said. "Their art and architecture is a direct reflection of nature. My images attempt to show this relationship and to explain the people's reverence for the land."

Among Sylwester's favorite images is that of a woman at a banyan tree. The photograph transforms the scene into a mystical creation - where the reflection of the woman dissolves into the tree, returning to the earth from which she sprang.

Another evocative image is that of the hands of a Chinchero woman weaving with her backstrap loom. The minute the image was captured on camera, Sylwester says she felt it was definitive.

Another image that speaks to the relationship between nature and art is that of a jelly fish that washed up on the shore near Pisco, Peru.Only on the shore for minutes, the jelly fish were captured on film while illuminated by the setting sun.

Sylwester has paired one of the images with that of the Nasca lines, and wonders if the lines may have represented jelly fish of ancient times.

Many of the images will be featured in Sylwester's upcoming studio art and art history courses taught at Columbia College, as well as a good number of pieces included in a concurrent show of Peruvian artifacts and fabrics at the Central Sierra Arts Council in Sonora.

The college exhibition also includes many other images from her travels.Twenty-percent of the sales at Columbia College will be donated to the college's Fine Arts Support Fund.

For more information, call Sylwester at 588-5341 or email her at