Artist: Caryn Aasness
Exhibition: “To Call It Cute Is To Misunderstand”
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery
About Caryn: Caryn is currently a senior pursuing her BFA in fiber art. She has been at CSULB for 4 and a half years. She has always been interested in textile and was interested in learning the different techniques of weaving. She started learning how to weave two years ago. As a child, her grandmother taught her how to embroider and sew but not how to weave.
Formal Analysis: The gallery was composed of different fiber textile pieces.The pieces were created with colorful yarn. The pieces were constructed in a type of coding and next to each weaving was a piece of paper to help decode the piece’s message. Some weavings had bright colors while others had dull colors.
Content Analysis: The messages encoded in the weavings were common phrases or comments she would frequently hear in elementary school. She was not a big fan of these phrases. The reason she had “To call it cute is to misunderstand” sewn on the weavings was to show how long of a process weaving is and how the hard work often goes unnoticed. For example, just to set up for the pieces took 10 hours. Caryn explained how tedious of a process it is to lay out all the yarn and position it in a way where it won’t get entangled. In total the whole thing took about 20 hours. Rather than have her work be admired for the “pretty colors” the artist should be appreciated and taken into consideration.
My experience: When I first saw the pieces, I thought “wow these are nice” and immediately felt bad thinking so when I saw the weaving with the giants words sewn on. Then I talked to Caryn and understood. I have always been fascinated by textile artists because I have always wondered how these artists could have so much patience and skill to create such beautiful pieces. I know the most intricate pieces could only be done by a human hand so I was amazed by every piece. Caryn had designed a formula to construct each piece in its own unique way and it was neat seeing it be brought to life in fiber. I really liked how instead of sewing words on she made a code to figure out the message. I’m always wondering about the human hand behind textile designs so it was nice to meet the one behind this gallery.
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.