Student galleries find art in seagulls and paintball
Published: Monday, September 17, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 17, 2012 14:09
The artists on the CSULB campus are a unique breed, which has never been more apparent than at the exhibits in the Fine Arts Student Galleries last week.
The plain white spaces that are the galleries were embellished by the Grad students’ art, but not in the paint-on-canvas manner with which one may be familiar.
Some photography, some videography and others just too abstract to name, the art begs for the viewer to respond interactively and to question their perspective on many of the often overlooked aspects of everyday life.
Eric Omari, a 5th year grad student pursuing a BA in photography, featured a series of photos of the CSULB paintball team in a grim, militant context using a series of “old-school” photo processes.
“I played paintball for seven years on a team and I wanted to portray the subculture in a way that mimics what people think about the simulated war game.”
Chen Carmi, a Grad Student from Jerusalem, chose to tell the story of a seagull’s struggle through silent, raw footage of the birds’ interactions in different environments.
“I came to the West Coast two years ago, and it took time to get an essence of the new place,” she said, reminiscing on the grass outside of the exhibit.
She drew her interest from a project she completed in Hawaii called “Don’t Feed the Birds,” in which she pondered why the creatures are treated in such a vile manner. She feels that seagulls should be recognized for their valor as living creatures that experience common struggle, and for this reason she captured them during their own profound moments without the distracting screeching that generally repulses the passerby.
In an adjacent room was the obscurity that was Michael Nannery’s exhibit, featuring various objects viewed only by flash-light and heard only by Walkman. These were undoubtedly assembled to make a statement, which was originally intended to be on the paper that read “This is my FAKE statement. My REAL statement is elsewhere.”
And it was. The jigsaw of drawers filled with Christmas lights, collages and unmarked discs strewn on the floor could, after hours of careful thought, be amassed into a statement about human relationships and nature.
While Nannery used his mysterious exhibit to share his own statement, Dane Klingaman used his to extract imagination from the observers themselves. While explaining his work, he carefully laced ambiguity throughout his eloquent elaboration to relate that his purpose is to let the observer decide.
He says that the presentation is everything; through the deconstruction of artwork as he did with the cut-up photographs or arrangement coiled newspaper bits, the gestures are more complex.
“They are larger than a simple brush stroke, and the final result is a visual experience. I’m asking the viewer to remove themselves from the equation, and focus on the thing itself.”
While the process of interpreting art usually depends on realizing the intentions of the artist, these talents feature work that compels the observer to gain fresh perspective from what lies before their eyes.