Millard Sheets exhibit displays photographic inspiration

Jordan Ramirez, Pomona resident, takes a picture of a landscape video installation at the “You Are Here: California Photography Now” exhibit at the Millard Sheets Gallery at the Fairplex on May 12. The exhibit is part of the Los Angeles County Fair, which runs through May 29. / photo by Brandi Peters
Jordan Ramirez, Pomona resident, takes a picture of a landscape video installation at the “You Are Here: California Photography Now” exhibit at the Millard Sheets Gallery at the Fairplex on May 12. The exhibit is part of the Los Angeles County Fair, which runs through May 29. / photo by Brandi Peters

Brandi Peters
Staff Writer 

Nestled in the back at the Los Angeles County Fair is a rare but sweet find. The Fairplex’s Millard Sheets Art Center presents the show “You Are Here: California Photography Now,” which brings photographs made by contemporary artists.

All works of art are from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s very own collection. The idea of bringing art inland was in hopes of giving people that might not get the chance to visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art the opportunity to do so. This exhibit might inspire young minds to pick up a camera and take pictures. 

This exhibit showcases California photography through the eyes of photographers. Each photographer showcased skills in blurring, redefining, or breaking boundaries within the art. There are 35 pieces currently on display to experience while visiting the fair.

“Very, nice, very clear submissions,” Ron Godinez, county worker, said.

Artist John Divola showcased his piece from the series “Dog Chasing My Car in the Desert,” which shows a dog chasing his car. It has a blurred effect which gives the illusion of speed. The portrait is in black and white, which adds to the mysticism of the dog.

“I like the wolf because it captures movement and the motion of everything to make it seem like one movement,” Jordan Ramirez, public relations assistant for Pomona Fairplex, said.

Jill DeMontt, resident of Pomona and Fair employee, expressed her love of art as she cheerfully walked you through the exhibit, explaining each piece passionately. She expressed that she grew up with a mother that was an artist, so these hits are close to home. DeMontt is excited to have an art fair in her home city. 

“It’s an opportunity for people and young kids that maybe have never gone to a museum to come and experience a world-renowned museum,” said DeMontt. 

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Pomona Fairgrounds plan to have more than 800,000 people visit the fair this season. That volume creates a great opportunity for the artist to have their work viewed by the public. This is an opportunity that really allows the selected artist to shine. 

“Some of the artwork stands out a lot, like the lady that has her face covered and a rope around her neck,” Lorena Schoenborn, fair worker, said.

Schoenborn is speaking of a painting by Laura Aguilar called “Three Eagles Flying.” It is a photograph taken in black and white where Aguilar’s face is covered in the Mexican flag, and her lower half is covered with the American flag. She is bound together by ropes while having her breast exposed. To some, this would suggest that this addresses the challenges of identifying with Mexican heritage and the life lived in the United States. 

“People just enjoy the different experience. Art is not something that everybody likes to like. You might like this piece or not this piece, but that’s okay,” said DeMontt. 

The Fairgrounds has big plans to expand the art and is banking on the people really positively influencing the pieces displayed so that the partnership can continue.

“Being able to look at California through different photographer’s eyes is a really great first exhibition theme that we have here,” Renee Hernandez, communications director for Fairplex, said. “We’re all Californians and love California and to be able to see it through different angles, different eras, different cultures even, it just gives a showcase as to what California is.”

This is the second season, with new dates in May. The fair moved to May after being closed because of the pandemic. 

“The weather is great, and we encourage people to come out,” Hernandez said. “We have animals, Lego exhibit, and there’s so many things to do here at the fair.”

The Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona is open now through May 29. 

Brandi Peters can be reached at brandi.peters@laverne.edu.

Jill DeMontt, Pomona resident, expresses her interest in a John Divola piece from the series “Dog Chasing My Car in the Desert” at the “You Are Here: California Photography Now” exhibit at the Millard Sheets Gallery at the Fairplex on May 12. The exhibit is part of the Los Angeles County Fair, which runs through May 29. / photo by Brandi Peters
Jill DeMontt, Pomona resident, expresses her interest in a John Divola piece from the series “Dog Chasing My Car in the Desert” at the “You Are Here: California Photography Now” exhibit at the Millard Sheets Gallery at the Fairplex on May 12. The exhibit is part of the Los Angeles County Fair, which runs through May 29. / photo by Brandi Peters

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