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‘Sightings’ exhibit showcases work of photography graduates

Students explore race, trauma, and geometry through photography.

Werby+gallery+visitors+Rob+Brown+and+Christina+Lee+came+to+campus+to+check+out+the+BFA+photography+show+%22Sightings.%22
Werby gallery visitors Rob Brown and Christina Lee came to campus to check out the BFA photography show

Werby gallery visitors Rob Brown and Christina Lee came to campus to check out the BFA photography show "Sightings."

Jason Enns

Jason Enns

Werby gallery visitors Rob Brown and Christina Lee came to campus to check out the BFA photography show "Sightings."

Carlos Villicana, Staff Writer

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Geometry, photographs and parody movie posters decorate the walls of the School of Art’s galleries as a part of “Sightings,” a Bachelor of Fine Arts photography group exhibit.

The group exhibit features the work of graduating seniors such as Kimberly Barkfelt, Natalie Grant, Noelani Irvin and Tanya Flores Hodgson.

Grant has two projects in the exhibit, “Lucid Extremities” and “Tessellations,” both in the Dutzi Gallery. Sharp-edged lines join together to form chrome shapes that contrast against nature in both. Grant explores the idea that geometry is all around us to create “visual mysteries,” that ask whether what is around us is miniscule or larger than life; natural or manmade.

Next to this, Barkfelt’s untitled project has yellow lights shine across and through a woman’s nude body like needles puncturing into the skin. The project is based on the thesis that she is no longer ashamed of the diabetes she has lived with for 18 years. “It will no longer be hidden that I am diabetic because these are my body’s physical needs, but it is for me,” her artist’s statement reads. She hopes that her project can help someone connect with a problem they have and help them understand it more.

Located next door in the Werby Gallery are Irvin’s “Two-Thousand & Two” and Flores Hodgson’s “Liberación.”

“Two-Thousand & Two” was inspired by Halle Berry’s 2002 Academy Award win for Best Actress. Irvin says that there is an unspoken belief reflected in Hollywood that only light-skinned black women are attractive. Through the use of posters for fake movies titled “Single Black Female,” “Taking the Lead” and “Not Quite,” Irvin brings attention to how black women only receive roles as romantic interests, and darker-skinned black women are often not cast altogether. “What lies underneath those light images is a darker truth – that equality doesn’t exist, even within the realm of one race and gender,” Irvin’s artist’s statement reads.

”Liberación” forms “a portrait of violence and trauma” on Nicaragua, Flores Hodgson’s home country. Images featuring a Molotov cocktail, bloodied knife and map with a shadow’s hand pointing at the U.S. are part of a series that reflects on the weapons used to inflict war on Nicaragua, and those who inflicted it.

Though they will all leave Cal State Long Beach at the end of this semester, all four graduating seniors will continue to create art with the photography skills that they acquired at The Beach.

Flores Hodgson is planning on obtaining a teaching credential in art, to teach it in either elementary school or high school. She also plans to return to Nicaragua to interview women who participated in the country’s revolution of the 1960s and 1970s.

Barkfelt will continue to explore her diabetes, while Irvin said that one of the many ideas she wants to dig into is another ethnic-based project about the “supposed fear that women have [of] getting their hair wet.”

The exhibit includes photography from many more students and will be open from 12 to 5 p.m. until Thursday, and 12 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

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