Graduate students, alumni showcase work in newly renovated CSUN Art Galleries


Dylan Keith

Charcoal on paper, archival digital prints and a prison bed are shown in the piece “The Pipeline,” by Micheal Roman in the 2020 and 2021 graduation exhibition “In, On, and Around,” at the CSUN Art Gallery’s main gallery in Northridge, Calif., Monday, Oct. 25, 2021.

Dylan Keith, Reporter

CSUN’s graduating classes of 2020 and 2021’s Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts programs are hosting their conjoined graduate thesis exhibition titled “In, On, and Around” in the newly renovated CSUN Art Galleries from Oct. 2 through Oct. 30.

Typically held during the graduating class’ spring semester and throughout the fall, this year’s graduate thesis show is different. As a result of COVID-19 shutting down in-person events on campus over the last two years, the two classes are now given the opportunity to have a combined exhibition.

Even though the graduating class of 2020 held a virtual gallery, the department decided to hold a joint exhibition of 18 different graduates from the 2020 and 2021 graduating classes.

The art department asked CSUN instructor and art writer Jan Tumlir to curate the show with assistance from the gallery’s interim director, Erika Ostrander.

Under the title “In, Out, and Around,” the exhibition is centered around the familiarity of everyday items and settings, presented through various mediums such as photography, drawing, painting, video and ceramics. This is discussed in greater detail in Tumlir’s essay about the show.

The increased number of students showcasing in the exhibition caused the typical number of artwork per artist to decrease, explained Coby Cerna, a CSUN alumni participating in the exhibition. Even with the higher number of students, the exhibition still gives opportunity for each artwork to have its own spotlight.

More students than normal, two years worth of art to choose from and COVID-19 restrictions posed challenges for this year’s exhibition, Despite this, the process of curation proved somewhat easier, Tumlir said.

A close-up look at “Souvenir”, an artwork by Erin Eleniak in the 2020 and 2021 Graduation Exhibition “In, On and Around” at the CSUN Art Gallery’s main gallery in Northridge, Calif., Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. (Dylan Keith)

Normally as a curator, Tumlir would visit the studio spaces of the participating graduates to discuss which pieces should be included in the exhibition. For this show, the students submitted their artwork, along with their websites, for Tumlir to pick what would go along with the theme.

“I wasn’t necessarily having to contend with the artist’s ego,” Tumlir said in reference to the selection process.

Artist’s pride wasn’t a concern when going through the mounting process. Tumlir said that this new method allowed him to skip negotiations with the artist on placement and construct the show how he deems fit.

“By the time I got to the gallery everything was just there, so it was really just the question of installing it,” Tumlir said. “Which of course is the funnest part of curating.”

The renovation of the building resulted in better amenities, such as newly installed lighting, flooring and new walls. However, the renovations also created problems for some artworks. Lauren Moradi’s chair sculpture has a hard time standing up as originally intended due to the lack of friction with the new floors.

“It’s been my own learning curve but it’s fine … Unexpected, but fine,” Moradi said.

Other alumni who participated in the show have benefited greatly from the building’s new renovations. Adrienne Kinsella, who is now an art professor at CSUN teaching Art 222: Illustration Materials and Techniques and Art 124: Drawing I, was able to have her work at the entrance of the galley on one of the newly installed walls. The same art piece was featured on the gallery’s website.

The gallery will be up until Oct. 30 by free appointment. Proof of vaccination is required at the door.