Artist: Daniel Bonilla-Vera
Media: Photography, Installation
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dr Maxine Merlino Gallery
About Daniel: Daniel is from the Central Valley and moved to Long Beach for school.He is a senior and an undergrad studio art major. He wants to pursue photography. He applied to the BFA photography program but was rejected the first time. He re-applied for his final time recently, they’re only allowed to apply twice. This exhibition was mostly thought up by his colleague, Dalia Banuelos, but she wasn’t at the gallery. His rejection from the program inspired him to partake in this exhibition.
Formal Analysis: Once you entered the gallery, you could see photographs around the wall. They were all connected by a black string. Towards the end, the string was in a web, connecting a bunch of smaller photographs. In the middle of the web, there was a body kneeling on the ground. In the corner, there was another figure on the ground curled up. In another corner, there was a trash can with photographs in it and it also happened to be where the string ended. There was a very dark atmosphere.
Content Analysis: This exhibition is a response to rejection. Daniel and his colleague were rejected from the BFA photography program. Rather than sulking around, they turned their emotions into art. The photographs of the tree bark were the photographs that got Daniel rejected from the program. The string is there to show that if you cut it, all the photographs will fall because they’re all connected by it. The two figures are Daniel and his colleague, in positions that show the reaction to the rejection. The trash can is filled with photographs because according to the institution, that’s where they belong (Daniel’s words). The smaller photographs in the back are photographs from other students that were rejected from the program as well.
My Experience: This exhibition was interesting because there was a lot going on in the gallery. After reading the artist’s statement I understood everything a little better. It was a pretty sad atmosphere walking through it because you could sense the heartbreak and emotions from the rejection. I thought the string idea was really cool because it connected all these photographs into one giant piece in a gallery. I can’t even imagine what it’d be like to get rejected from something you love doing. It’s even sad to think about. I hope Daniel was able to get into the program.