Art students and supporters bounced back and forth between the Associated Students, Inc. Art Gallery in the Cesar Chavez Student Center and the Martin Wong Gallery in the Fine Arts Building for the opening reception of this years’ senior art show.
“Daily Acts” exhibit curator Weston Teruya was approached by professor Mark Johnson to help select works from graduating seniors. He said although he came up with the title, the art itself actually created the theme: everyday acts of resistance.
“I was trying to find both work that really stood out as really strong conceptually and formally, but also has some sort of thematic through line,” Teruya said.
He focused on picking artwork displayed in the ASI Art Gallery that would not only stand out before, but would also sit well with viewers.
“It’s not meant to be a flashy show; I just encourage folks to really sit with the works,” Teruya said. “I think there is a number of works that are really quiet and require some contemplation.”
Elisa Gonzáles, graduating art student, teared up about having her art displayed in the exhibit because she sees it as proof she was able to do everything she was told she couldn’t.
“In high school I was told that I couldn’t do a lot of stuff; I was told that I wouldn’t make it past community college by a teacher,” Gonzáles said. “Everything that my grandmother and my farmworker parents went through is for me to be able to do stuff like this, for people to be able to see my art.”
Gonzáles, who embodies art in everything she does without regard to others’ opinions, said her artwork reflects the theme of resistance in its daily form.
“I was told that art was going to take me nowhere, and I need to pick a more realistic major,” Gonzáles said. “I love the art department and everyone in it. I probably would not be doing everything that I’ve done without the people in the art department.”
Her friend and fellow art major, Bryan Muñoz, said he feels a sense of pride when he sees his friends’ work displayed in exhibits. He, along with the other members of the ART 619 exhibition design class, were able to install their pieces for the second exhibition “Unconventional Practice,” in the Martin Wong Gallery. He said the installation process went smoothly.
“We got in done in one day, and we got it to open right at five o’clock,” Muñoz said.
Cameron Lahr, graduating senior who had work displayed in “Unconventional Practice,” said the theme of the exhibit centered around thinking outside the box and stepping away from traditional meanings of art.
“I hope to encourage people to kind of take it easy — it doesn’t have to have a deep meaning,” Lahr said. “I’m a really sarcastic person and I’ve been really implementing a lot of that into my work this year.”
Lahr said he is honored and humbled to have others experience something from what he created and thinks it is amazing that he gets to share the limelight with his fellow classmates.
“These are pieces of work I’ve been seeing them work on for weeks, sometimes even years,” Lahr said. “I have a friend in there who has worked on a project even from last year so it’s kind of cool to celebrate with them in their personal victories.”
Among Lahr’s friends is Marilyn Roxie, who displayed a compilation of archive videos in the Martin Wong Gallery. She said the opening reception stirred up bittersweet feelings.
“I’m both kind of excited as well as sad,” Roxie said. “Because as I’m in my last semester I feel a lot more comfortable talking to all of my fellow classmates than I did when I first started.”
Bianca Hom, also a graduating art senior, agreed that the opening of their final exhibit provided mixed emotions, but it solidified the hard work that entire department puts in.
“I think all of the art department is so dedicated to their students and have had such a great impact on everyone,” Hom said. “It’s really inspiring to see progress and to know that your classmates and teachers support you so much.”