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‘Liminal’ prompts CSULB seniors to define great art

Senior art students express their individuality and talent through a final show.

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‘Liminal’ prompts CSULB seniors to define great art

Senior Yireh Elaine Kwak poses next to her artwork at the Senior Solo Show on Sunday.

Senior Yireh Elaine Kwak poses next to her artwork at the Senior Solo Show on Sunday.

Marcus Contreras

Senior Yireh Elaine Kwak poses next to her artwork at the Senior Solo Show on Sunday.

Marcus Contreras

Marcus Contreras

Senior Yireh Elaine Kwak poses next to her artwork at the Senior Solo Show on Sunday.

Michelle Vazquez, Contributing Writer

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She painted in colors reflecting her present self: animated blues and colorful purples. Her vibrant, red lipstick resonated her aesthetic preference—anything but dark.

Yirek Elaine Kwak, a senior drawing and painting major at California State University, Long Beach, was one of 15 students from the graduating class whose work was exhibited in the art showcase “Liminal” on Sunday. According to the event’s website, ‘liminal’ has two meanings: a sensory threshold and being in an intermediate state.

The theme hints at the featured artists who are always changing while at the same time, delivering pieces that convey what they’ve learned during their time at the Beach.

Like the liminal students, the meaning of art has evolved over time.

“Art has to be honest; it has to be authentic,” Kwak said. “If it’s not true to who you are then you failed. You have to have the passion for it.”

Scenic views of bushes and mountains from her Fullerton stomping grounds represented Kwak’s application of authenticity in her work. With merging colors of reds, greens and yellow oil paints, she aimed to embody what is important to her through the painting.

“I named it home, because a house is a building and a home is a family,” the self-ascribed colorist said. “When I was younger, we moved around a lot and we finally found a home. Everywhere we [went] my mom really liked good scenery. Finally we were blessed with this beautiful view.”

Gianina Nunez’s baby-doll, polka-dotted dress and quiet reserved tone invited the crowd to her “after birthday party theme” gallery.

“The theme is a memory that happened for anyone, not just me,” Nunez said. “It could be a great memory of a great time or a total disaster; it could be about anything.”

The painting overlooked a birthday table with a cake appropriately laced in purple stripes. A piece of chocolate cake with strawberry frosting rested, half-eaten, on top of a luminous yellow plate.

“Art must make people think,” Nunez said. “If it triggers a feeling in the observer wondering what or why, then that makes it great.”

The use of oils, pastels and acrylic were introduced to Nunez from the age of nine. From the moment she was put into an art class, she fell in love and is now pursuing a career in the arts.

“If [a piece] looks good, good enough to the eye where the observer stands there for a long time just looking at it—I think that’s great,” Nunez said. “It’s causing people to have different feelings, which means they’re trying to take it in and form an interpretation of it.”

As many paintings were created through bright and vibrant colors, others came to life in more monochromatic, yet gripping, tones.

Inspired by vintage photography, film and color schemes, Simmons said that he transcends into his approach, painting each piece with a consisted aesthetic.

“Great preparatory work, great drawing skills, mixing paint skills and great compositional skills make great art,” Dennis Simmons, a senior drawing and painting major at CSULB, said.

He is influenced by representational art because it has an edge to it, represented in his painting “Dead Flowers” that was inspired by the like-named Rolling Stones song. It shows a shirtless man on a couch with two women by his side; one is taking away his guitar; the other is pouring alcohol into his cup.

“I combined two bible stories Samson and Delilah with Delilah taking away his guitar and his power,” Simmons said. “Then Judith and Holofernes where Judith is killing Holofernes with alcohol.”

“Liminal” will be showcased between Fine Arts buildings 1 and 2 on upper-campus, where the works of students like Kwak will be open to the public until Thursday.

“If you’re just doing it because someone is forcing you then it’s not art,” Kwak said. “It has to make you happy; you have to have a skill set [and] you can’t just call yourself an ‘artist.’”

 

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