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Student artists mix sculpting and painting

Leslie Campos, Staff Writer

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Inspired by the troubled history of sculpting and painting, Cal State Long Beach sculptor Tina Linville and painter Annelie McKenzie come together for a collaborative installation that combines their two distinct crafts.

“Beyond the Courtyard” is on display at the Werby Student Gallery this week for the artists’ second collaborative installation.

Linville and McKenzie began putting their work together after seeing a relationship between the two collections when they happened to be near each other at a group gallery last year.

“It was like they were talking to each other,” said McKenzie, a sophomore MFA student. “They come from a troubled history. They are very separate but we are trying to bring them together.”

When entering the Werby gallery, one can encounter the first space, which resembles a cultivated garden, highly organized with neatly placed found object sculptures throughout and framed art hung evenly and symmetrically placed on the walls.

It soon turns into a mash-up of color and objects when one look to the right. It features a large tarp canvas on which McKenzie painted a replica of Linville’s sculpture that sits right in front of it.

Fabrics were also sewn into the canvas itself and a hedge-like sculpture that helped the audience note the transition from the neat courtyard to the chaotic. They used extremely saturated colors and a vast variety of found objects into the sculptures including mannequins, shoes, vacuum cleaners and big umbrellas.

Scattered across the floor are nearly 200 small fabric rope coils, dyed in different colors that made them looked like sea shells.

“It’s a wonderful experience to walk into, to look at it and take it all in,” said Tina Bonaventura, a senior studio art – drawing and painting major. “You have to take a closer look and separate yourself from the object and color and take it in.”

The artists became more in tune with each other and their disciplines by being more vocal about what they were doing. Instead of asking if it was okay with one another first, they went with their instincts and asked questions later.

“It became a call and response action,” said Linville, a sophomore MFA student. “I sew onto the paintings and she paints onto my sculptures.”

The third and final space is located in the back of the gallery and conveys a heavenly arena. It has white fabric scattered over the wall and canvases, as well as what seems to be snowflake replicas hanging from the ceiling.

This arena also features white balloons that sway in the wind and move as the audience moves through it. Theme lighting from beneath the wall of fabric add mystery to the already calm and silent space.

The calm, white space is meant to contrast the wild and chaotic area before it and offers the audience a clear difference, like day and night.

Linville and McKenzie say the purpose of the three different spaces is to allow the audience to decide which space they feel more comfortable in. The installation piece is left to the interpretation of the individual and is ultimately there to be enjoyed.

“Our work became more integrated and concrete,” Linville said. “We spent a lot of time communicating as we painted and sewed.”

The two artists said they did a second installation to try to go more in depth in their collaboration. This time around they focused less on planning prior to the art-making and simply went for it.

“I feel like we became more comfortable with each other,” McKenzie said. “Tina sewed way more and I painted way more than the previous installation. We got braver.”

Linville and McKenzie brought all the material for their installations into the art gallery a few days before the opening and worked tirelessly to integrate their disciplines and come up with a more elaborate and thoughtful collaboration.

They said that some things were made in their studios, but a majority of what the audience sees was built within a week in the gallery itself.

“Beyond the Courtyard” will be on display in the Werby student art gallery until Feb. 23.

The student art galleries are open Sundays from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.; Mondays through Thursdays from noon to 5 p.m.; and Wednesdays from noon to 7 p.m.

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