Art exhibit considers our relationship to the sea

Expedition artist Danielle Eubank talks to audience members about how climate change influences her water paintings Saturday at the opening of the “Above and Below” exhibit at the W. Keith & Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery at Cal Poly Pomona. Eubank has traveled around the world to paint some of the most polluted waters on Earth. / photo by Ayalen Ortiz
Expedition artist Danielle Eubank talks to audience members about how climate change influences her water paintings Saturday at the opening of the “Above and Below” exhibit at the W. Keith & Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery at Cal Poly Pomona. Eubank has traveled around the world to paint some of the most polluted waters on Earth. / photo by Ayalen Ortiz

Anisa Salazar
Staff Writer

“Above & Below: Views from AltaSea’s Blue Hour,” an exhibition at W. Keith and Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery on the Cal Poly Pomona campus,  is on display through March 31. 

Curated by guest curator Kim Abeles, it shows the relationship between society and bodies of water. 

Ceramic artist Patsy Cox demonstrates to the audience the noises made by the pieces of her installation on Saturday at the opening reception for the “Above and Below” exhibit at the W. Keith & Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery at Cal Poly Pomona. Cox also explained how she hand made her ceramic pieces. / photo by Ayalen Ortiz
Ceramic artist Patsy Cox demonstrates to the audience the noises made by the pieces of her installation on Saturday at the opening reception for the “Above and Below” exhibit at the W. Keith & Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery at Cal Poly Pomona. Cox also explained how she hand made her ceramic pieces. / photo by Ayalen Ortiz

Among the art featured are  two large sculptures made of parachutes portraying jellyfish. “The Marginal World: Jellies by Barbara Benish” gives the illusion of being small in comparison to real jellyfish, with the art pieces meeting the top of the ceiling. This abstract piece allows one to understand the power that nature holds, switching places with these sea animals in terms of size and contrasting a normal view of jellyfish.

“There needs to be a voice, especially around the coast,” Barbara Thomason, another artist whose work is shown. “People have no idea what we have given away and lost.” 

Thomason’s installation includes paintings of different stops all along the West Coast, with 27 paintings displayed in this show, though the full project has more than 100 pieces.

Under each of Thomason’s paintings is a description of the landscape, explaining all the good and bad that have been a direct result of people’s interactions with these locations. 

Three glass pieces by artist Katherine Gray are displayed together and made by. The material used in these installations is so common in people’s everyday lives that it can be seen as a way to connect but it is also used to separate individuals.

One of Gray’s sculptures, “Turvy,” is a large glass sphere that is half-filled with water. When looking through it, it creates the illusion that the scene behind it is upside down. Gray continues with her glass medium in the “Shipwrecked,” sculpture. It is a series of blown glass spheres that decrease in size as it approaches the shipwreck  in a glass bottle on the floor. Her newest sculpture, “Untitled,” is a tall cylinder glass filled with water and glassware. Although there is a presence within the glass, there is a sense of absence in it as one can clearly see through. 

Patsy Cox’s “Urban Rebutia” represents both an urban landscape that is excessively growing and racism. The clay used to make this piece continues to grow and reconfigure each time that it is installed, tying into the urban spread of Los Angeles. 

The installation uses primary colors: red, blue and yellow.

“It is a metaphor for race, I used primary colors because you can make any color from those three,” Cox said.

Two Cal Poly Pomona students admire one of Danielle Eubank’s paintings, “Gowanus Canal III,” on Saturday at the W. Keith & Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery. The painting is part of the “Above and Below” exhibit, which runs through March 21. / photo by Ayalen Ortiz
Two Cal Poly Pomona students admire one of Danielle Eubank’s paintings, “Gowanus Canal III,” on Saturday at the W. Keith & Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery. The painting is part of the “Above and Below” exhibit, which runs through March 21. / photo by Ayalen Ortiz

“Migrations” by Cynthia Minet displays three of her six sculptures of the birds, Roseate Spoonbills. Minet used these birds and their migration journey to bring awareness to the migration of people.

She went to Rio Grande’s border between Texas and Mexico to collect landfill that was left behind by those who have crossed the border to incorporate into her pieces. From afar it is clear to be bird sculptures, but as you take a closer look you can see left behind sandals, water bottles and plastic bags from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Her display is an immersive experience that incorporates real sounds of the birds, river flowing and footsteps representing people crossing through the Rio Grande. 

“I wanted to show a parallel between the vulnerability of the birds and the vulnerability of the people that are crossing the Rio Grande and coming into Texas illegally,” Minet said. “I wanted to really bring the point across by gathering the actual materials, adding a visual sting to the installation.” 

On the floor of the exhibit, guests see a portion of  “One Artist Five Oceans” by Danielle Eubank. The five paintings each represent one of the five oceans in the world, to which Eubank traveled over the course of 20 years. Eubank’s paintings are  abstract depictions of water designed to build connections and help develop a greater understanding of the changing planet. 

“I can express emotions through abstraction,” said Eubank, who also taught in the University of La Verne communications department. “I can also express what’s going on with the planet and it is very freeing, so far as I can express shapes and ideas from my own mind and have it look like water.” 

Anisa Salazar can be reached at anisa.salazar@laverne.edu.

Featured artist Ann Phong shares her process in creating one of her paintings, “Angel in the Sea,” Saturday at the W. Keith & Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery at Cal Poly Pomona. Phong talked about how her painting and style fits into the “Above and Below” exhibition. / photo by Ayalen Ortiz
Featured artist Ann Phong shares her process in creating one of her paintings, “Angel in the Sea,” Saturday at the W. Keith & Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery at Cal Poly Pomona. Phong talked about how her painting and style fits into the “Above and Below” exhibition. / photo by Ayalen Ortiz
A gallery visitor admires Barbara Thomason’s featured series,”Coastal Disturbance,” on Saturday at the W. Keith & Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery at Cal Poly Pomona. The series of paintings explores how urbanization and industrialization affect coastal environments. It is part of the “Above and Below” exhibit, which runs through March 21. / photo by Ayalen Ortiz
A gallery visitor admires Barbara Thomason’s featured series,”Coastal Disturbance,” on Saturday at the W. Keith & Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery at Cal Poly Pomona. The series of paintings explores how urbanization and industrialization affect coastal environments. It is part of the “Above and Below” exhibit, which runs through March 21. / photo by Ayalen Ortiz

Anisa Salazar is a freshman communications major with a concentration in public relations and a staff writer for the Campus Times.

Ayalen Ortiz, a freshman art major, is a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine. He has past experience with graphic design, fine arts and video editing.

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