WK 10 – Artist Conversation -Helen Werner Cox

Info Block:

Artist: Helen Werner Cox

Exhibition: “Silent Screams”

Media: pastels, charcoal, oil paint, prints, ink

Gallery: CSULB School Of Art, Gatov Gallery West

Website: http://www.helenwernercox.com

Instagram: none

About the Artist:

Helen is in her last semester of graduate school at CSULB. She will be graduating from the drawing and painting (figurative tract) program in the school of art. This exhibition is a project included in her completion of her MFA. Helen’s hobbies include gardening and reading, her preferred genres of books include fictional dramas and mysteries. Before she attended CSULB, she was a teacher for about 30 years. She taught high school and after a while she decided she would take on the task of teaching middle school and she ended up loving it. After spending 13 years in Boston, Massachusetts, the cold weather drove her to California. Here she spent 14 years as a school librarian in North Long Beach. She had already completed her Bachelor’s degree at Boston University and decided to attend CSULB for her Master’s. Helen’s exhibition explores the history and wonders of carousels and how they represent society.

Formal Analysis:

Helen’s work had many different media types, ranging from photos made with ink and charcoal to large canvases with oil pastels to a carved sculpture made from wood. All of these pieces vary in color and technique but overall give off a feeling of magic and uniqueness. The vibrant colors and prominent shading make for bold pictures that really stand out. On the other hand, the neutral tones and shading make the horses stand out in a way much less vibrant but equally as bold. Her drawings and paintings demonstrated what seemed to be a lot of hatchwork and linear stokes. The pieces are all blended together and seem to flow from picture to picture, despite their various forms.

Content Analysis:

Helen mentioned that she had gone to multiple carousels to find inspiration for her work. She started at Santa Monica’s carousel but believed it looked too upscale and polished, she wanted to find one that was much more raw. That’s when she discovered the carousel in Griffith Park and became immediately inspired.She noticed the horses had their mouths opened and looked like they were screaming, which is the reason she named her exhibition “Silent Screams”. The paintings, sculpture, and other pieces all flowed together and made it seem as if I was looking into history. The mouths and facial expressions on the horses created a feeling of distress but the bright colors and cheerful music created a feeling of joy. The pieces seemed to contradict themselves and thoroughly demonstrated how mysterious and interesting carousels (and their stories) can be. This can be related back to society because it is also just one large contradiction with a long path of history.

Synthesis:

I really loved this piece and I loved listening to Helen speak. I could see it in her face and hear it in her voice that she really loves what she does and has a great interest in carousels and I believe it was beautifully shown in her work. I also enjoyed the fact she added music to her exhibition because it really made me feel like I had just stepped on to a carousel. Helen did an incredible job at making her artwork seem as if it was coming alive and I never got tired of looking at her pieces. I now have the desire to go ride a carousel because I have a whole new outlook on what they are and how important and inspirational they can be.

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WK 7 – Artist Conversation – Andrea Williams

Info Block:

Artist: Andrea Lauren Williams

 Exhibition: Sacrifice

Media: ceramics, raw clay, cement, mason stain

Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West

Website: http://mrsdubbayoo.weebly.com/gallery.html

Instagram: @andreawilliammms

About the Artist:

Andrea Williams is am undergraduate student at CSULB in the Ceramics program. She was born and raised in Riverside and is currently commuting from there. Andrea stated that art and music have both been an important aspect of her family since she was a child. She was in a band and has played the drums since she was 12. When she was in her 20’s, her husband encouraged her to choose something in art so she chose ceramics. Her biggest interest is being a mother and a pet owner of many animals like dogs and chickens. Overall Andrea really loves music and art, along with her family. She describes that her work is titled “Sacrifice” because her pieces explore the ideas of sacrifice that become apparent during stages like motherhood. It also encompasses the sacrifice of a woman- like her body, her time, and other aspects that tend to go unnoticed.

Formal Analysis:

Andrea’s work is mainly created with cement and ceramics. Her pieces have rough surfaces with clean lines painted on them. The colors are very dull and neutral which make the pieces seem very natural. The cement used is gray but certain points in her work are outlined with the color brown to highlight specific aspects in each piece. The artist stated that  The texture on the pieces also look very rough and rugged. The overall theme of the work is that is seems very natural but also rough around the edges.

Content Analysis:

Andrea’s exhibition mainly focuses on the idea of sacrifice which normally comes along with vital stages in life like finding faith and becoming a mother. Her concept of sacrifice is both physical and mental. After a woman gives birth, her body permanently changes along with her way of living. When a child is born, the woman must forfeit her physical body along with aspects like sleep, free time, and her social life. In addition to motherhood, sacrifice can be clearly seen in religion and faith. Physical sacrifice is apparent in her pieces illustrating pain and agony below the cross. Her purpose of naming her exhibition “Sacrifice” was so she could pay respect to things given up that often go unnoticed. She specifies that her work is particularly religious and has to do with Christianity and Jesus Christ. The different pieces give off a feeling of gloom and sadness that create an overall appreciation for the idea of sacrifice.

Synthesis:

I really enjoy Andrea’s work because despite the fact I am not a mother, I can relate to her exhibition on the level of religion. I am also Christian and fully believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins- which was the ultimate sacrifice. I really enjoyed seeing religious ideas recreated as contemporary artwork because I have a very deep appreciation for it as it is extremely difficult to do. I love that Andrea made her work personal by relating religious sacrifice to the sacrifices of motherhood. Since the artist is a mother herself, she was able to fully express her own thoughts and feelings in her pieces. The art informs people how hard it can be to be faithful and to also be a mother, and I really like that she centered her focus around these aspects. The pieces were not only beautifully created, but also told an incredible story.

 

 

 

WK 5 – Artist Conversation – Annie Ronning

Info Block:

Artist: Krystal Ramirez

Exhibition: Fuse: Join to form; single entity

Media: metal

Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West

Website: no website yet

Instagram: @kreeestol

About the Artist:

The artist named Krystal Ramirez in an undergrad student at CSULB in the 3D Media program and works strictly with metals, which is her major specification. Krystal enjoys making art but also loves to thrift shop and make DIY things. She has a drawing and painting background so she uses that as a base of inspiration and exploration in her work. She draws from the different techniques to help aid her in the creations of her pieces. She mainly focuses on movement and linear forms. She decided to work with metal because she took a jewelry class in high school and fell in love with it. She states that it is her favorite thing. After graduating, she has an interest in industrial design but hopes to continue working with metal.

Formal Analysis:

Krystal’s work was clearly made from metal and she created salt and pepper shakers. The lines were smooth and curved and the metal was silver ans shiny. The texture of the shakers was soft and polished. The shakers also had holes in the tops so they could be used functionally but also looked really nice as a household decor.

Content Analysis:

As mentioned previously, Krystal stated that she likes to incorporate the techniques of drawing and painting in her artwork and it can be clearly seen in the salt and pepper shakers.Although the shakers were real life objects, they looked as if they could have been drawn or painted on paper. The lines resembled drawing lines very much so and the shine from the metal resembled different shading techniques that may be used in painting. Krystal also discussed linear movement and this is also seen in the pieces. The shakers have curved bodies that flow very well from top to bottom, as if a wave of light is moving through them.

Synthesis:

I really enjoyed Krystal’s artwork because it was artistic and realistic but also practical. The salt and pepper shakers look like something I would buy at a store to keep in my own house. They are functional but also appealing to the eye because of their smooth lines, surfaces, and curves. Krystal aimed to explore linear movement and drawing and painting techniques in her artwork and I believe she was successful. As you walk around the pieces, they look as though they are moving. The reflection of the light bends on the shakers and makes them flow very nicely together. I also really respect her work because it was done with metal, which is something I have no knowledge of. I may know how to paint and draw, but before this exhibit, I had no idea how something like metal salt and pepper shakers were created. In addition to seeing pieces of art I would want in my own kitchen, I also got to learn more about working with metal. I really enjoyed her work along with the other pieces in the gallery.

WK 4 – Artist Conversation – Annie Ronning

Info Block:

Artist: Samuel Jernigan

Artist Tag: Gatov-West

Exhibition: Weight of Whimsy and Ideals

Media: Metanna spray paint and ceramics

Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West

Website: cargocollective.com/samueljernigan

Instagram: @samueljenri

About the Artist:

The artist named Samuel Jernigan is a recent graduate from CSULB with a BFA in Ceramics. He recently submitted multiple applications to graduate schools including UCLA and Alfred State Ceramics. He loves a lot of things like watching cartoons, playing music, and reading comics but he especially loves to eat and drink; coffee and beer are his favorite choices. He stated that most of his days will begin with a latte and conclude with a beer. The ideas his work explores include consumerism, belonging, sentimentality, and alienation and how these concepts exist in our culture.

Formal Analysis:

The two main forms of artwork used in his exhibition are ceramics and spray paint with the occasional addition of materials like steel and wood. His work consisted of sculptures as opposed to the previous artist I studied whose main form was painting on a plastic canvas. His work was very entertaining to look at, especially because it was three-dimensional and included colors. Many of the pieces have clean lines and detail that made the artwork seem extremely realistic. The colors used in his work included pastel and also bright colors. The pieces had a finished look that made the surfaces seem “soft”. These vibrant and life-like sculptures were extremely enjoyable to look at and study.

Content Analysis:

A lot of Samuel’s pieces are about childhood and represent the feeling of nostalgia. Although the pieces represent many toys we remember from our youth, they are all altered in their own way. For example, the Cookie Monster sculpture can easily be identified as the familiar character from Sesame Street but it does not look exactly the same as the original. It has its own uniqueness and differences that relate back to the artist’s concept of alienation. His sculptures were quirky and fun, and he stated that he always makes pieces of art that he sees as funny. As soon as you walk in the room, you start to recognize elements that were present in your childhood and it provokes feelings of nostalgia and sentimentality, which is what the artist aims to do. His artwork pulls you in and stirs up feelings you may not have felt in a long while.

Synthesis:

I thoroughly enjoyed this entire exhibition and wish I could see even more artwork. The ceramic sculptures with smooth surfaces and pleasant colors make the pieces extremely enjoyable to look at. I especially loved Samuel’s exhibit because it brought back feelings that I have forgotten about. I believe part of his goal was to make the viewer reflect on their childhood and how it represents the bigger image of feelings like nostalgia and belonging; emotions that everyone feels but not as often. This showroom was fun, energetic, and lively but also made me think about how different things are now compared to my childhood. I loved his work and the message it left in my thoughts.

 

Wk 3 – Artist Conversation – Annie Ronning

Info Block:

Artist: Joshua Vasquez

Artist Tag: Gatov-West

Exhibition: Vida/Morte

Media: Spray paint, Sharpie markers, plastic trash bags, wood panels as frames, red rosin paper

Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West

Website: http://joshvasquez.com

Instagram: @joshybehr

About the Artist:

The artist named Josh Vasquez is an undergraduate student at California State University, Long Beach and he is planning to graduate from the BFA Painting and Drawing major a year from now. Josh’s main interests are painting and making art in general, which he has been doing for a majority of his life. He stated that he had just started taking art much more seriously around two years ago, and he now has a non-degree solo show. Josh’s interesting pieces explore the concepts of life and death and how they contrast.

Formal Analysis:

The two main forms of artwork in the showroom consist of paintings on “plastic” canvases along with dozens of dried flowers places on paper that seemed to resemble dirt and the ground. The paintings on the canvases were extremely intriguing to me because there were many jagged and straight lines that formed from the Sharpie markers. I really liked how the streaky appearance of the marker lines added to the roughness of the pieces. The canvases were especially enjoyable to look at because the works were created on clear plastic as opposed to the average white canvases. In addition to the black and white paintings with a jagged appearance, there were also softer aspects of the showcase that included dried flowers. Although the flowers were all dried, dead, and placed in a straight line, they gave off a much warmer tone. These flowers had bursts of color that brought vibrancy into the pieces. Overall the colors and materials seemed to contrast one another which ultimately made them complimentary.

Content Analysis:

From what the artist has said about his work, it can be seen that he is interested in the aspects of life and death, hence the name of the exhibition. He explored these two ideas by considering pieces from artists such as Van Gogh, Kahlo, Cezanne, and O’Keefe and interpreting them into his own thoughts, feelings, and images. He did this by including materials that all have a “life span”. Although everything will come to an end at one point in time, they will all do so at a different pace. For example, the flowers will not last as long as the trash bags and so on. I believe he did this to display how every single life has a different expiration date. Whether the time of death may be fairly soon or dozens of years from now, all things must come to an end. He incorporated the ideas of life and death by using contrasting colors and materials, and by making these items seem hard and soft. The contrast between these things represents the greater ideas that none of us can control, which are life and death.

Synthesis:

I really appreciate this exhibition because Joshua Vasquez explored a concept that so many people are afraid of: death. When discussing life and death, sometimes it can be heard to explain, imagine, understand, and illustrate, but I think he did an excellent job at displaying both. Although the exhibit seemed to be centered around death at a first glance, the more I looked the more I realized it represented life just as much as it did death. The paints and markers that were used were black and the flowers were dead and the canvases portrayed images such as skulls so it gave off a feeling of gloom but also a feeling of vibrancy and brightness. I was especially drawn to the colors of the flowers, I loved that even though they were dead, they still had great color in them. All of the pieces did an excellent job at demonstrating the conceptual ideas of life and death. Now when I think of these things, wonderful pieces of artwork come in to my mind.