For the artist interview of this week, in the galleries on Thursday, there was only one main exhibit for the senior showcase. It was a collection of tons of student’s artwork all displayed in one showcase called Liminal. Liminal is an adjective that means of or relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process. I thought this was a really good name for the exhibit because not only was all their work a process but also their transitional stage in life from being seniors to either graduating college or continuing with graduate school or etc. It also shares how the artists are going through new practices and different periods of transition. The show showcases multiple processes of discoveries and breakthroughs within these artists. All these artists have developed their own visual language and personal practice along with different styles, content, and techniques. It was such a pleasure to look at all their amazing work they had to display.
One of the paintings showcased was my very own friend, Yireh Elaine Kwak. She told me why her piece focused on nature because nature has always been important and been such a big part in her family. She claimed whenever looking for a home, her mother always wanted a house with a beautiful view. Her current house is her influence in her paintings. It has a breathtaking view of the distant mountains and they were also next to a golf course. Kwak explains how landscapes became a symbol of her home. “My home and family is the fuel for my artistic calling”. I thought that phrase was so beautiful and inspirational.
Kwak goes on to tell us the process of how her art pieces came to live. She mainly uses oil paints for her landscapes because “it gives the best range of saturated and neutral colors”. She would head out into her backyard with her sketchbook, and sketch out the view she wanted to paint. She uses charcoal for her preliminary sketches and her sketches are usually very loose yet observational. After all, it’s still only the beginning of the entire process but one still wants to make sure to get all the details in as well. Kwak prefers her canvas to have an initial wash of color “whether it is cadmium red light, cadmium yellow light, or a violet hue”. She then starts painting from memory in her studio. Her memory tactics and techniques help her mind to organize the “important relationships” she sees in nature. After the oil paint dries, she goes on with the work by applying bold strokes of rough oil pastels over the gestural brushstrokes. She continues on with her artist inspiration in that “the vibrant colors and gestural brushstrokes (she) used are influenced by the styles of Van Gogh, Cezanne and Gaugin. (She) sees her work dwelling within the Stylized Mimetic range”.
All in all, I loved how all the artworks were showcased and it was a great exhibit to walk through and experience. It still amazes me how these works were only created by students! They should be so proud of themselves. #gatov-west