An exhibition of works from Master of Fine Arts students in the art department went on display Thursday night in Manzanita Hall, and will be there until Nov. 6.
The MFA is the art equivalent of a Ph.D.
The exhibit, which is located on the second floor of Manzanita, includes metalwork, illustration, photography, video stills, and the designs for public art at the Sepulveda Metrolink station.
The exhibition is called “Convergence,” referring to the convergence of the different artists, different art forms, and the partnership between Manzanita Hall and the Art and Design Center.
“It’s a good effort to try to get some exposure, to strum up some interest,” said Tim Forcum, a part-time painting instructor here at CSUN who attended the event.
Forcum thought that the use of Manzanita as the venue was a good idea, “so the rest of the campus can start to see what’s being done in the art department,” and possibly become interested enough to take a class.
The art department has been displaying photographs on the second floor of Manzanita for several years, said Edward Alfano, chair of the art department.
“It’s difficult for the campus to see the students’ work,” Alfano said, citing the isolation of the art building.
Though it is part of the college of arts, media and communication along with the departments housed in Manzanita, Nordhoff and Cypress Halls, the art and design center has been separated from the rest of our campus by what professor Lesley Krane calls the “Plummer Curtain.”
Krane teaches in the art department, and is an adviser for MFA students concentrating in photography. She and others were thankful for the use of Manzanita Hall, a venue more accessible to the campus community.
This particular event was organized by Niku Kashef, another part-time professor in the art department and MFA student.
She had two pictures on display from a larger series of photos of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
They aren’t just straight photos, however; it looks as if she broke the image, or took several shots of the same scene and put them together, much as Louisiana is trying to do with the battered New Orleans.
She calls her series “The Silence of Dissolution.”
“Each one of us has a story,” Kashef said.
Next to each artist’s work is an artist’s statement, describing what the work meant to them.
Kristy Wong, who specializes in graphic design and will graduate at the end of the semester, presented photographs that had been graphically enhanced to represent narratives of family history.
Melissa Thomson focused on nature, and presented metalwork that depicted scenes with sea turtles.
The exhibit is limited to images that can hang on the wall, since the hallway isn’t designed to present sculpture or video.
Also, many of the original works were quite large, so in the name of sharing and to make the whole show look like it belongs together, many of the images were scaled down.
This disappointed Sara Alavika, an illustration major whose class visited the show, but she said that she enjoyed them nonetheless.
“It’s excellent,” said Tim Simmons, an illustration major from the same class. “It’s inspiring to see art at such a high caliber.”
Many of the students that attended the show were drawn to two pieces in particular.
One was a photographic documentary called “32 Reasons” by David Blumenkrantz, who is the photojournalism professor in the journalism department.
Kashef described Blumenkrantz’s images of neglect and graffiti in Los Angeles as “vernacular in the world.”
“It’s always interesting to see people reacting to your work,” Blumenkrantz said.
He said that he likes to “eavesdrop” while people view his pieces, and feels that his popularity is a result of the accessibility of his work to the average person, since it is documentary rather than self expression.
The other favorite was an example of reclaimed photography by Levon Parian.
He discovered old family pictures which had been damaged during their stay in the basement, and had them printed.
“The contours of the picture are very different than the average picture,” said Teri Akpovi, a public relations major.
She said she liked how certain colors jumped out due to the age of the image.