Art Students Comment on the Past

“Adorno Likes Gray” might be a strange statement taken out of context, but it fits perfectly well with the work that UCI art undergraduates displayed at the University Art Gallery’s exhibition that opened last Thursday. On display until April 19, the exhibition accompanies an undergraduate honors project that is also on display in the Room Gallery, another gallery space in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts.

As explained by fourth-year studio arts major Allie Ihm, “ ‘Adorno Likes Gray’ is this whole idea that the word ‘like’ has a lot of emphasis, in that liking something is lessening it to some degree. It becomes association rather than the artwork itself.”

Ihm is also one of the featured artists in the gallery. Her piece, titled, “Artist,” centers on a bright splash of pink in a balloon that spells out the word “artist.” However, another balloon coiled into a noose has it in its grasp.

Ihm was unable to comment on the meaning behind her piece, but there was much room left for interpretation, and such interpretation was taken from attendee Adrian Garcia, a third year art major.

“It’s really terrifying. I think you have to think about what it’s made of, which is balloon. It’s tied to this rope, and you have to think about where it is, in an art gallery. It’s an artist hanging himself; essentially, the artist dies where it’s supposed to be his home.”

Many of the attendees, in fact, were fellow colleagues, friends, and family of the artists displaying work. Another attendee, Simonne Jocic, came to support artist Garrett Hallman. Her first UCI art exhibit, she found Hallman’s piece to be more of a feeling than a look.

“I see a lot of contrasts and complexity,” she simply commented.

Hallman’s piece was another fascinatingly abstract yet intriguing set, to say the least. It was Hallman’s first piece of art on display at the University Art Gallery.

“This particular work brought me back to the work of Gertrude Stein, who was an early 20th century poet,” Hallman explained.

“A lot of her work dealt with the combination of words together, and working with words as they were, and seeing how their combinations would create meaning. I was always struck by how interesting some of her words were when put together.”

Gertrude Stein’s work inspired him to create “A Novel of Ands,” which is what his piece is titled.

A clear sheet of plastic with gold spray-painted polka dots on it lies near a wooden dowel and various pillows with dried clay molds resting upon them.

“Structurally, I was really interested in the relationship between materials and objects and arrangement. It [the objects] kind of functions like a still life, and these clusters of objects interact with each other.”

However, Hallman did not necessarily target a constructed meaning with the placement of such objects.

“I think I was not as interested as much in putting meaning into the objects but rather letting the objects create meaning among one other. I was mostly interested in the touch. The ceramic pieces are very gestural and create dimples and creases in the pillows. I feel like there isn’t one meaning that is going across but there are multiple subjects coming across. I feel like there’s a large conversation between all of them. It’s discursive. It goes from subject to subject to subject: “and” and “and” and “and.”

 

“Adorno Likes Gray” will be available for viewing Tuesday-Saturday from 12-6 p.m. until April 19.