Senior art majors show varied ‘Vantage Points’

Vincent Matthew Franco
Arts Editor

Senior art majors got to show off their semesters’ work in the “Vantage Point” exhibition, which opened Tuesday in the Harris Gallery.

About 40 community members attended the opening reception.

The exhibition features the senior projects of Nadia Angeline, Mariana Braña, Samantha Gonzalez, Kaitlin Handler, Laryssa Lahn, Sam van der Linden, Byron Melendez and Hayley Love Perez.

From small liminal paintings on canvas to a found footage-themed short animation, the works were diverse in subject matter and the media they were expressed in.

Liminal, more of a feeling and aesthetic than a meaning, is described as a gap in time and space that gives someone a sense of nostalgia that is accompanied by a feeling of eeriness.

Though the notion of vulnerability was one of the common threads that weaved this art show together.

Throughout the gallery were paintings of spaces that were intimate to the artist that may not be portrayed as often, such as Perez’s three paintings of a hallway, a kitchen and her bedroom titled “Pieces of you.”

Or Braña’s 26 different illustrations of 26 different kitchens titled “A collection of Kitchens.”

For video game lovers, Lindens “Sam’s Story” is an entertaining piece reminiscent of old screen-roller video games and pop-up books.

Lahn’s installation contained five different pieces, all dealing with different emotions.

In the middle of the pieces was “Blooming,” a large cloth hanging from the middle of the wall and falling onto the floor, with an abstract painting of a skyline full with blue skies and volcanoes erupting colorful clouds of smoke into the sky.

Handler’s paintings were also personal and one specifically, titled “A Girl’s Best Friend,” showed a flower made of Advil pills, plan b pills and tampons.

Another example of this is Angeline’s installation titled “When Will Myself Be Enough,” which stood in the middle of the gallery and featured four 46×67-inch canvases, all aligned to the right, each containing their own phrase and drawing.

The fourth canvas was a painting that resembled a child’s drawing of a house, with a bee and a tree, which read “Who am I” in big black letters over the painting.

The third canvas is the drawing of math homework and read “en gulfed in what others want” in the same font. The second painting was of a blank text message box that also read “Will they be lieve im” on top of it.

And lastly, the very first canvas just had the words “myself enough” painted in the exact same font as the three before. 

After taking in every piece, observers could take a step back and notice the off-centered canvases say, “When will myself be enough?”

The back of these canvases contained Angeline’s second project, which is a painting of a family picture with her mother and father and her as a young child.

The first painting is whole, the second shows just her and her parents whited out, and the last is of a birthday cake with the words “Come Home” smeared on it.

Combining these two pieces is a reflection of her homesickness, but also trying to accept her own presence as enough to call anywhere home.

“I don’t think it gave me a certain answer,” Angeline said. “And I don’t think I’ll get an answer anytime soon, even reflecting on this piece, but it definitely helped me come to accept that I don’t think I’ll ever get an answer. And that’s okay.”

On the other side of her installation, located to the left of the entrance of the gallery was Melendez’s short animation “Doe,” projecting onto a gallery wall.

The video is of a lost camper who tries to go home but falls into another dimension that is described as neither here nor there by Melendez. Surrounding the projector is an empty backpack, trash, one shoe and a camplight, all remnants of someone who has been lost in the woods.

The video played loudly throughout the gallery, and you could hear the frightened gasps and endless running of the lost camper.

Inspired by horror movies, video games, and the concepts of liminal spaces, he put this animation together using 3D animation and barely finalized it hours before the opening reception.

Like everyone else’s pieces, this is his last hurrah as an art student at the University of La Verne but he believes he could do some things better now that he has watched in its final form.

“Overall, I think in the grand scheme of things, I think it worked out,” he said. “I think that I can be happy with the work, but there’s still more room for improvement.”

Among the other themes explored was anxiety.

Gonzalez, who had on display two paintings and a styrofoam sculpture, tackled this with similar-looking demons in each piece; an eyeless creature with a big mouth and big teeth.

One specifically titled “They’re gonna eat you” shows three of these creatures sitting around a dinner table faced to whoever is looking at the painting.

These big mouths are meant to represent her social anxiety, and the pressure she feels to talk to people when out in the public.

“The objective is for the viewer to be uncomfortable, or sort of scared, because it’s supposed to be a simulation of fear and anxiety,” she explains.

Bringing these feelings to life with art is something she describes as cathartic, as she feels better expressing them than having them build up inside of her.

The reception went on as roars of laughter and conversation filled up the Harris Gallery, providing these ULV seniors a proper send-off after months of preparations.

Admission to the exhibition is free and will run up until Dec. 14. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by appointment.

Vincent Matthew Franco can be reached at vincent.franco@laverne.edu.

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Vincent Matthew Franco is a senior journalism major with a concentration in print and online journalism. He has been involved in journalism and print media in high school, community college and is now at the arts editor of the Campus Times.

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