Student artists show prized work at annual juried show

Jessica Hager

Original and award-winning works of art are currently on display in the Main Gallery on the CSUN campus, courtesy of the CSUN arts council.

The annual juried student art show, which opened April 25, is home to works by graduate and undergraduate art students in a variety of genres. The exhibition includes paintings, sculpture, photography, animation, graphic design, mixed media and more.

Students had the opportunity to submit their work to a panel of professional art judges, who chose the pieces that are now on display. About 70 works were chosen among more than 300 entries.

Awards were granted to a select few artists, with introductions given at the opening reception Friday evening. Robert Bucker, dean of the College of Arts, Media and Communications and Louise Lewis, CSUN’s gallery director, presented the students with awards and recognition.

The event drew a large crowd of artists, students and others who filled the Main Gallery to get a closer look at the extensive collection.

As a whole, the works on display are thoughtful and imaginative, and rival many pieces on display at well-known galleries.

Award-winning pieces include Doug Adrian’s “Forgotten Landscapes,” a series of three photographs portraying an “antique shop,” “palm tree” and “snack shop.” The subject of each photo portrays a different timeworn feature that blends into the desert landscape. The dark clouds and mountains in the background create a moody, cinematic feel. The work was awarded the Dean’s Purchase Award.

Elisa Salcedo was awarded Best in Show for “Blunt Force,” an oil painting depicting a man wearing jeans, a green sweater and pink rabbit ears. The subject is standing on top of a telephone poll, taking a step as if he’s unaware or unconcerned that he’s about to plummet to the ground. The piece is both humorous and thought provoking.

Other awardees include Jessika Edgar for her untitled work of ceramic sculpture, which took second place and Gerald Dererio, who came in third with “Organic Tea Packaging,” a graphic design made of paper from tea packages shaped into mini flower pots.

The collection is comprised of various forms of art, with some of the pieces representative of the modern issues of social and cultural identity, while others are more abstract and conceptual.

Dee B. Williams’ “Trying to Find a Balance” is a self-portrait of the artist done in oil on canvas. The theme is that of a mixed-race woman dealing with issues of self-identity and racism.

Manuel Guardado’s “So Many Children Need Love and Whole Grains,” (made with spray paint and newspaper) portrays a young girl eating cereal from a bowl, with the cereal box beside her. The piece resembles pop art with its message of consumerism, yet also hints at social-awareness.

One of the most abstract pieces was Barri Lucci’s “It Got Really Messy but I Still Tried to Control it,” made of acrylic, enamel and spray paint. It was also one of the largest works on display.

Stan Benson’s “Negative Graffitti,” which got an honorable mention, depicted an abstract view of a city landscape as seen from above with the words “Graffiti Are Not Grammatical” scrawled across the panel.

Stephen Alamango’s “Memories of Home” was both abstract and identity-driven. It garnered a lot of attention as it stimulated not only the visual but also the olfactory senses.

Wood panels with cutout holes allowed visitors to smell different spices, plastered within the piece. Curry and cinnamon were two featured spices, with the others up for debate as visitors stood with their noses to the piece trying to put a name to the familiar smells.

The extensive collection of student art is well worth seeing, as the future of the medium is on display for anybody that’s interested.

The show will be running until May 21 at the CSUN art gallery.