Artist: Tony Nguyen
Media: Installations, Metal
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dr Maxine Merlino Gallery
About Tony: Tony is currently a senior at CSULB and he’s been in school for 5 years. He is working on his BFA in the metal program. On his business card, he labels himself as a metalsmith. Tony was originally an illustration major but then discovered all the intense work and time needed to commit to that major. He then switched to metal work because it was what interested him the most. Tony has 4 brothers and he included them in this exhibition.
Formal Analysis: When you walked into the gallery, the first thing you see is a toy machine with mini toy capsules. Around the gallery there were pieces of metalwork. There was a common theme among these pieces of metal work and it seemed to be related to childhood. The metalpieces had intricate details on them. Some pieces included armory, male figurines, a necklace, and rings.
Content Analysis: The meaning behind this exhibition was to show how even as an adult, he still has that child side in him. Which isn’t a bad thing. The toy machine at the beginning of the gallery represents what his dad said about toys being better now than the old days. The necklace consisted of five bridges and they represented him and his brothers. He made one of the bridges a darker color and that symbolizes him because he considers himself the black sheep of the family. Each bridge had a detail on it that represented a brother. The figurines represent the different characters people put on everyday. He included angry Tony, business time Tony, and even astronaut Tony for the time he wanted to be one so long ago. There was one figurine that wasn’t metal but white. Tony explained how it signifies purity but it was sort of hidden because there really is no such thing as being completely pure.
My Experience: I thought the idea behind this gallery was interesting. I had never heard of the term neoteny before so it was interesting learning about it. I enjoyed walking through this gallery because Tony had succeeded in his mission, and that was to create a sense of nostalgia/childhood for viewers. When I saw the toy machine, I was reminded of my childhood. As a kid, I always loved seeing what I would get from them. I hardly see toy machines in places I go. Maybe it’s because I don’t visit the same places I did as a child because, well, I’m an “adult” now. It was also nice to hear how he incorporated small details about his personal life into these beautiful metal pieces and what they meant.
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.
At the gardens this week, I talked to Janett Moctezuma. She is a fifth year and is a health science major. She’s graduating next semester and she’s currently applying for nursing school. Her ultimate career goal is to become a pediatric nurse practitioner. She is a secretary for the health science student association and a member of Eta Sigma Gamma, which is a national honor society. Not only is she an active member of two clubs, but she also works two jobs. She is a student assistant at CSULB’s human development department and a caregiver for Cambrian Homecare. She has three dogs and loves the color pink. She was born in the same city as I was, Anaheim, but has lived in Compton. When asked if she would support her child in pursuing an art career, she said yes she definitely would. She said she believed that people should pursue a career in what they are most passionate about because that’s what they’ll enjoy. If her child loves the art field, she’s going to motivate her child to be great and successful. She wouldn’t want to persuade her child to pursue a career in something they don’t want to do.
Janett’s website: https://janettemm.wordpress.com/
Artist: Dulce Soledad Ibarra
Exhibition: Manos de Oro
Media: Mixed media, video installation, sculpture
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Max L. Gatov Gallery East
About Dulce: Dulce is a senior at Long Beach and she is getting her BFA in sculpture. She first wanted to major in graphic design but decided that sculpting was more her thing. Her family is from Mexico but she was raised in Chino. Growing up, Dulce was embarrassed by her background. Her dad had hopes of becoming a lawyer when he crossed to the US but ultimately gave up his dream in order to save for the future plans. Dulce made this exhibition for her dad.
Formal Analysis: Around the gallery, you could see gardening tools covered in gold. The tools included a lawnmower, shears, a rake, and shovels. There were also brown bags of grass clippings and yard waste. There was also a video playing in the other room of her dad in his work uniform, working. At some point, her dad switches to Dulce. Or better put, Dulce is wearing her father’s work uniform and cutting away at a hedge.
Content Analysis: This exhibition is a reflection of how Dulce sees her dad’s hard work. As a child, Dulce had a hard time being proud of her family background. Her dad worked as a gardener, mowing other people’s lawn and working on yards. For some, this job can be seen as a poor man’s job since it requires a lot of physical labor. The significance of the gold is that it is a luxury in all cultures. Growing up, Dulce failed to realize that it was okay to come from a lower/middle class background. Her dads lifestyle is actually the real gold.
My Experience: This exhibition definitely touched me emotionally. I could relate to it so much. I came up from a lower middle class family. My mom didn’t work and my dad worked as a pizza delivery driver. I didn’t like to tell my friends that because everyone else’s parents were teachers or nurses or business owners. Walking through the gallery, I mostly felt sad. Dulce talked about something called survivors guilt. She said she feels bad now because her dad sacrificed so much to provide her with as much as possible and she hadn’t realized. I also feel the same way with my parents. My dad has been and still is working 60-80 hours a week and I’m scared I won’t be able to repay him for everything he’s done. This exhibition was just another reminder to appreciate my parents and everything they’ve done because they have been through hell and back.