Where The Walls Bend@ CSULB

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LONG BEACH, CAWhere the Walls Bend was a group exhibition featuring work by California State University, Long Beach’s senior photography students, organized by Kyle Riedel.  Upon entering the Gatov Gallery you realize this is not going to be just some stroll through a collection of Instagramable images. The exhibition showcased the breadth of the photographic medium and I was immediately struck by the variety of works in both their physical format and content.

There was the personal archive of likely hundreds of artifacts from Kristy Still’s childhood home photographed individually and then arranged according to an ideological structure that considered ways in which a families beliefs and values are transferred across generations. Video works by Diana Echeverria looked at the traditions of Mexican Birthdays with an eye toward horror and violation. Sierra Harris combined 3d animation, photography, audio and text to take us along on her experiences sailing. The viewer is left considering how technology and artistic mediums create problems of representation, blurring the line between fact and fiction, but in rather rich and beautiful ways. Jose de Jesus Gomez showed work from a larger project on the experience of America’s DACA recipients or “Dreamers.”  The content is timely and the images turned what is usually described in political and policy terms into a personal exploration of the hopes and fears of a recipient.

There were even works by Brenna Hansen that didn’t involve a camera at all. Her works instead considered how images can be a collaborative endeavor constructed partially outside the artists control. Not too unlike how photographs are made, with a photographer navigating the machinery of a camera and the physical realities of the world and subject in front of it.

Other works included Nieves Rocha’s wry collages that reflect on the history of media and gender relations, Jill Thoman’s large scale abstract landscapes, Chloe Denson’s burning primal screams, and Quinn Piper’s installation that contextualizes skateboarders as subjects in a larger landscape.

The exhibition as a whole appeared as a strong statement on the photographic medium, asserting its relationship to the physical world and the power it holds as we make meaning from our experiences in it.

Here are some photos from the Opening Reception:

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(Photo and text by Keyang Pang)

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