Alumni artists return to their roots

Alumnus Eduardo Rodriguez reminisces with professors of art Keith Lord and Ruth Trotter and alumnus Dicran Kassouny. Eight former students were honored with an alumni exhibition titled, “Roots and Shooting Stars.” Some of the former students returned to campus for the reception Tuesday at the Harris Gallery, where Kassouny’s and Rodriguez’s works are showcased. / photo by Chelsey R. Morrison
Alumnus Eduardo Rodriguez reminisces with professors of art Keith Lord and Ruth Trotter and alumnus Dicran Kassouny. Eight former students were honored with an alumni exhibition titled, “Roots and Shooting Stars.” Some of the former students returned to campus for the reception Tuesday at the Harris Gallery, where Kassouny’s and Rodriguez’s works are showcased. / photo by Chelsey R. Morrison

Autumn Simon
Staff Writer

Director of University of La Verne’s art galleries Dion Johnson created an art exhibit titled “Roots and Shooting Stars” to showcase works by ULV alumni in the Harris Gallery.

“One of the great things about having exhibitions at the gallery is that I am often in touch with our graduates,” Johnson said.

“We have great resources that keep them all in touch, and I thought it would be great to have a show themed on having the same foundation and having an education here,” he said.

The gallery has several student exhibitions throughout the year, but it has been almost eight years since there was an alumni exhibition.

The exhibit featured the works of Alycia Anthony, Dicran Kassouny, Mabel Martinez, Christy Roberts, Eduardo Rodriguez, Sunny Samuel, M. Louise Stanley and Susie Stockholm.

In addition to the artists, Matthew Breatore wrote an exhibition essay. Breatore’s essay vividly described what each artist was currently doing and what their art represents.

Years after graduating from La Verne, the artists established themselves and developed their artistic career while keeping in touch with their beliefs.

Roberts and Kassouny both had pieces that embrace their political awareness and activist minds.
Roberts’ artwork is inspired by the revaluations of sexual and gender politics.

“The artist self-identifies as a feminist, and her art is an extension of her life experience and world from her view,” Breatore wrote in his essay.

Kassouny’s digital print, “Nation to Nation,” reflects his training from the University by using renowned quotes from historical movements along with bold imagery to pose questions about religion and war.

Many of the alumni artists took time to not only explain their artwork, but to admire others’ as well.

“Usually all of the art programs I attended, I noticed a lot of cloning,” Roberts said.

“I like this exhibit because it’s nice to see a variety but still see a similarity.”

There were various works at the exhibition, including fashion pieces created by Anthony and Martinez.

Both are from 3rd Season Designs, a clothing company inspired by artistic textiles.

Another unique art piece was an animation piece by Rodriguez titled, “Archer.”

Students gathered in the Harris Gallery to attend the exhibition for their classes, however the majority of them stayed for the various art pieces.

Kinesiology major Thomas Huynh was one of the students in attendance.

“I appreciated how they had different art forms,” Huynh said.

“There is a cartoon piece over there; I love how they incorporated fashion and fabric as well as painting and photography.”

The great turnout of the event and seeing the alumni observe and admire each others’ artwork reminded Johnson that they should continue the idea of connecting with alumni to present their work to current students.

The exhibit will run until Oct. 29.

Autumn Simon can be reached at autumn.simon@laverne.edu.

Chelsey Morrison

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