Annual Juried Art Exhibition is exceptionally insightful

Jorge Valle

The 2009 Annual Juried Art Student Exhibition has set itself apart from the previous years. Entering the gallery, what is most striking is, as a collective, the quality, skill and experimentation of the work created by the student body which is, for the most part, on the same level. That is to say the work goes beyond what is a mere exercise, a classroom assignment. It is an immense contrast to exhibitions of past years, which had admitted work of questionable quality. The level of work could be split into two camps: exceptional conceptual work and good classroom projects.

As always the exhibition brings together work from the various disciplines within the art department. Paintings, illustrations, sculptures and product design are scattered throughout the gallery. A few will always standout while others only deserve a passing glance. But that is not solely a characteristic of the work – it is of the audience bias as well.
The students honored with awards have provided a sense of expression and intrigue with their work. Exploring not just technique, but the use of materials as a means of visual communication other than just imagery. Excellent paintings ask the audience to stare, but resist giving everything they have to say all at one time.

Winner of Best in Show was a large stain painting on large birch panel titled ‘Lost,’ by Stan Benson. The image is of a hiking trail with a woman holding her cell phone. An intimate look at the image reveals rounded, linear, intermingled shapeslike puzzle peaces, working together to make the image. The sides are kept as raw and untamed as the forest. The panel and the frame are intentionally untreated. What the painting suggests is the intrusion of modern amenities on what should be a landscape void of comfort. The cell phone attempts to calm the rugged land, ironically pieced together by rounded linear shapes.

Nurit Avesar’s painting ‘Diaspora’ was acquired for the CSUN permanent art collection for 500 dollars. The painting is in oil on canvas. The work suggests unity within a group despite harsh conditions, an indication of human strength. Cool and neutral colors emphasize the warmth expressed by the three family members that embrace each other arm in arm as they stand. Their faces are worn yet offer much glee.

The others who were awarded are second place winner Sara Alavikia ‘You May See Her Now,’ third place winner Robert Sherwin ‘My Life,’ and Jodi Bonassi’s ‘Barbershop #8’ receiving an honorable mention.

The Exhibition will be on display from April 25 to May 19. The permanent collection selection will be displayed in the art department offices for the following two years.