Artist: Laura Lopez
Media: Drawing and painting
Gallery: Werby Gallery
About the Artist
Laura Lopez was born and raised in Colombia. She decided to move to the U.S. about 3 years ago to go to art school. However, she plans to return to Colombia soon after she finishes her Master’s degree in fine arts. She misses the tropical atmosphere of Colombia which heavily influenced her thesis exhibition. She is inspired by all the nature from her home town that helps her create her art. She is currently majoring in drawing and painting at CSULB’s School of Art. When she is not painting, Lopez enjoys being with friends in her free time.
Lopez’s exhibition was beautifully filled with color. Her large paintings of the jungle were detailed and demanded attention from the viewer. Although she used colors and shapes that are not normally found in a jungle, those aspects gave the paintings an edge with a bit of abstraction and surrealism. The colors were especially prominent giving off a metaphor that the jungle is alive and has a spirit or a personality of its own. The character Lopez gave her jungle paintings with the colors and patterns construct a visual narrative about the natural world. Thus, creating a new way to experience nature.
Lopez’s work was obviously inspired by the jungle. She admires the way nature builds and creates different types of life forms that are interconnected and grow together as a whole to create one ecosystem. She claims that the intelligence of nature is reflected in her work. Lopez was also inspired by the belief of Pantheism which is the idea that the whole universe is full of spirit and life is a whole spiritual reality. To her, nature is the most sacred temple. She uses color and pattern to build imagery and composition. The linear structures in her work function to express organic growth in natural ecosystems as the jungle and other wild forests.
Synthesis/ My Experience
Lopez’s exhibition was such a beautiful experience of the jungle. By looking at the paintings it is obvious how much she connects with and feels at home in the jungles of Colombia. She told me how it is her true home where her roots are planted which supports her creative life to bring this metaphor into visualization. I absolutely loved her notion to express her emotions about her home to life through her art.
Artist: Alice Andreini
Exhibition: No-Man’s Land
Media: Drawing and painting
Gallery: Max L. Gatov Gallery East
About the Artist
Alice Andreini is graduate student at CSULB’s School of Art. She is a drawing and painting major working on getting her Master’s degree in Fine Arts. This exhibition served as her thesis for her degree. She is originally from Minnesota but found her self in San Diego awhile back and then ended up in Long Beach for school. She has always had an interest in art while growing up but was too scared to pursue it as a career since it was not very practical. So for her undergraduate degree she went with medicine at first but then switched to theater arts when she realized she needed to pursue at least some type of art. When she is not working on her paintings in the studio she enjoys reading poetry and philosophy in her free time. After she receives her Master’s she hopes to continue to create paintings and become a college professor.
Walking into Andreini’s exhibition, I immediately noticed five very large and colorful canvases. Except for one canvas that was small and black and white. The paintings were detailed to the extreme. They contained several colors and layers of paint that gave them a sort of 3D effect. They also contained several geometric lines and shapes that gave the paintings an illusion of a virtual grid. It was obvious that these were landscapes of golf courses but with a bit of abstraction and surrealism. Golf courses are known for being very nature filled and picturesque. However, Andreini challenges this notion with her paintings by creating a new way to experience nature.
Andreini claims that the way her landscapes are framed reveals the ideologies of a culture. In America, there is a frame for nature where it is presented as an uncontaminated “truth” even though it as already been appropriated as a body of symbols. According to Andreini, nature is regarded as a “pure” form but it’s innocence has been spoiled and used to profit through expansions of territories. In her paintings she reveals the constructs and seductions of the landscapes. The golf courses represent the allure of the American pastoral but she works them into a net of spatial and ideological constructs that are unveiled to create a new realm where perceptions are disrupted. This her new way of experiencing the world.
Synthesis/ My Experience
It is weird to think of nature as being something technological, when technology is anything but natural. At a first glance, I did not realize Andreini’s paintings were nature landscapes because they don’t resemble anything natural. But then, the poles with the little flags gave the golf courses away. It is interesting how she created a landscape while making it look like a movie animators draft. With her paintings, I believe that Andreini succeeded in uncovering the machine under nature and converting it into a virtual reality.
Artist: Yujia Gu
Exhibition: Tracing Gun Violence in the USA
Media: Installations, Info-graphics, LED display.
Gallery: Dennis W. Dutzi Gallery
About The Artist
Yujia Gu is a student at CSULB’s School of Art and is working to get her Masters in fine arts. She moved to the United States from Asia about three years ago and has been enjoying her time going to school and living in Long Beach. She was hesitant to move to the US at first because of all the gun violence happening here that they hear about over seas. Her mother was especially worried for her safety but nonetheless Gu was determined to study in the US. She was intrigued to know if the gun violence was real or not.
In her exhibition, Gu reveals some astonishing statistics about gun violence in the US. Her exhibition includes statistics about mass shootings, the comparisons of gun violence among different countries, the number of children killed by guns since Newtown and much more. The way these statistics are presented is essential to the art show. She includes an info-graphic map that points to the places where gun violence happened during the last 72 hours in the US. She also has an LED display showing the number of people who were shot every day. Perhaps the most shocking part of her exhibition is the writing on the wall that reads “More and more people are buying guns to protect themselves from more and more people who are buying guns.” This is to show that gun violence is an endless loop.
Before moving to the US Gu did extensive research on gun violence in the US. Her interest in it is what inspired her exhibition. The purpose of it is to make people realize how serious the gun violence here is. From her research, she has discovered that schools, business buildings and places that are more active and populated have a higher risk of having gun violence. Her main goal is to inform the viewer about all the gun violence happening around us and to encourage them to understand that it is necessary to learn how to properly use guns and have gun control.
Synthesis/ My Experience
I was really surprised to learn some of the statistics presented in Yujia Gu’s exhibition. I think a lot of the time the people who live in the US like to turn our heads to the side and pretend that this isn’t all happening. People like Yujia who live in other countries take it more seriously than we even do. Gun violence is a serious issue in our lives and gun control needs to be improved. This exhibition was definitely a eye opener.
Artist: Amy Duran
Exhibition: Forever By Your Side
Media: Ceramics, Mixed-Media
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Marilyn Werby Gallery
About the Artist
Amy Duran is in her senior year at CSULB’s School of Art. She will be graduating this May with her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. Her major is Ceramics. She transferred to CSULB to pursue her love for art from Cypress Community College. Duran has always had an interest in the arts ever since she was a little girl. She currently has her own shop on Etsy where she sells special brooches she makes herself using her ceramics talents. She also loves to decorate cakes in her leisure time. Duran is also a huge fan of vintage fashion and nail art. She currently resides in Buena Park with her family where she loves to spend time with her puppy and her bunny.
Duran’s specialty is in ceramics. Upon, walking into her exhibition I was met with a large doll house-like structure that one could walk into and see her art. Walking in to the dollhouse was like walking into to a storybook which is exactly what Duran wanted the viewer to experience. On the three walls, she presents scenes that are the visuals for the fable that is being told on the pages of a beautiful gold story book by each station. The visuals are intricate ceramic sculptures of people and animals she has created to accompany the story of a girl who is scared of growing apart from her inner child.
In her exhibition, Duran uses the story to express her own personal struggles of feeling like she never belongs and feeling anxiety of forgetting her inner child while moving on to become an independent young woman. In the visuals, she tells the viewer it is okay to feel afraid as an adult, and that after childhood we often feel a nurturing reassurance from the stories we read and watch. For this exhibition she created sculptures of toys and pets that she she once had claiming that it is with these things that we form our first and most intimate relationships with in our lives and that they are memories to be truly cherished.
I walked away from Amy Duran exhibition in awe. I completely agree with her that moving into adulthood can be quite a scary journey. It is easy for people to lose themselves in the journey. However, Duran encourages us to feel free to live out our deepest imaginations because that is where our inner-child will always be alive and unafraid to come out and play.
Artist: Dulce Soledad Ibarra
Media: Sculpture, Mixed-Media
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Max L. Gatov Gallery West
About the Artist
Dulce Soledad Ibarra is in her senior year at CSULB’s School of Art. She will be graduating this May with her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. Her major is Sculpture. She originally came in as a drawing major, but once she became tired of the media she decided to switch to sculpture. She developed an interest in using paper mache and began to create her own piñatas. She also became interested in objects, materials and how everything has a reason for existing. Ibarra has also received her Associate’s Degree in drawing and painting at the Rancho Cucamonga Community College. She currently resides in Chino.
Ibarra’s specialty is in creating sculptures. In this exhibition, titled “Recuerdos” ,which translates to “memories”, she shares objects of her aunt who recently passed away. All these objects that her aunt cherished so much, come together to create this beautiful sculpture. The yellow furniture, the countless dolls, clothes and takeaways from celebrations like birthdays, weddings and baby showers take up the space in the gallery to create a room within the gallery.
Ibarra talks about the value of objects in her work. She claims that objects have always been the first introductions to sculpture. In this exhibition, she shows how her aunt used objects as an outlet and a reference to the traumas she suffered. She says her aunt was a hoarder, but she claims it was about having nothing and then having the opportunity to own something for her aunt. As an undocumented immigrant in this country, her aunt had to deal with the thought of establishing ownership in a country that didn’t want her here and that seeks to throw her out. Her aunt used these objects to cope with these issues.
Ibarra told me that she never understood why her aunt collected all these things. In a way she still doesn’t. And after her death she said that her family were left to deal with these things and it became a burden but she was unable to just throw them away. I really enjoyed speaking to Ibarra about this idea of holding on to objects because I too have some family members who do this and her exhibition really helped me understand why people put so much value into objects.