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Students document memories in art gallery

Piece+by+art+student+Karen+Utley+is+displayed+in+the+Werby+art+gallery.
Piece by art student Karen Utley is displayed in the Werby art gallery.

Piece by art student Karen Utley is displayed in the Werby art gallery.

Alejandro Hernandez | Daily 49er

Alejandro Hernandez | Daily 49er

Piece by art student Karen Utley is displayed in the Werby art gallery.

Patrick Moreno, Contributing Writer

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The Werby gallery will serve as a snapshot of artist Karen Utley’s past in this week’s student art gallery. A room full of ungraceful chairs draped with fabric, and organic-shaped objects preserve a place where the artist used to, “Confuse master splinter with Jesus Christ.”

Utley’s installation considers intimate spaces, embarrassment and explores the melancholy that can exist just below the surface of any normal childhood. Although the meaning of the pieces individually may remain cryptic, the room as a whole creates a distinct mood.

In the Merlino gallery, Adam Fay hangs five to seven pieces — depending on how you perceive the piece against the rear wall of the show. Fay’s work illustrates the tension that exists between younger and older generations.

A series of three small square canvases depict an old man drifting to sleep in different color palettes with a slightly varied expression. The non-sequential series is definitely a highlight.

“Even though it’s not a sequence, the facial gestures of the model and the exaggeration of the brow line make the series one piece,” said Cal State Long Beach alumnus Jonathan Takahashi who graduated with a BFA in photography.

None of the pieces in the Merlino gallery were titled. Though stylistically and with respect to content, the room is definitely a cohesive study by Fay in some sort of family dynamic.

In the larger gallery next door, CSULB students and Chinese exchange art students hang side by side as part of the “Above and Beyond” art program sponsored by the Art Department. The program displays work from student artists and more than 30 art students from China.

The multi-cultural mixed media features Jacqueline Li, Spencer Harding, Ali Azimi, Luis Ramirez and Catherine Davis.

A small format series by Harding documents the secret struggle of an extremist camp in Spain. The artist was privy to an intimate view of the anarchist group’s squat. Like a friend taking us somewhere we’ve never been, Harding shares the hopes and everyday lives of those squatters through a simple unadulterated look at the living space.

Davis posts small objects with commentary from a trip to China. The artist involves the audience in a living scrapbook she hangs her memories instead of folding them away in an album. Showing all of the incidentals of the trip as opposed to tourist-like pictures gives the viewer a sense of having been there themselves.

Li’s double exposed photographs — although a little gimmicky — may be the highlight of the room. With every photo having two layers to pay attention to, the eye sees three compositions in each photo. Two static compositions give the image its structure. Both images together create an endlessly dancing third composition that is always in flux.

The other half of the gallery shows mixed media by Azimi and Ramirez, as well as paintings by Jessica Lah. A painting by Ramirez uses mock double images that seem difficult to reproduce in paint. Lah’s painting, however, differentiates itself in presentation. A street scene by Lah is painted in large scale on a canvas and hung normally. A bamboo and semi-transparent green fence is erected in front of the painting to force viewers to extreme angles to view the painting. The result is that the viewer cannot look away, much like the eyes are drawn to whatever the crime scene tape vainly tries to barricade.

The weekly student art galleries run Monday through Thursday from noon to 5 p.m. 

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