Stepping into a gallery filled with mesmerizing art on the walls that lets you lose track of time is one W O R T H visiting. These last few weeks, there have been shows for graduating MFA and BFA students in the USD Fine Arts department. The first MFA show that I went to was a great source of inspiration. I was excited to see what the BFA show Concerning Relativity had to offer.
The minute I walked into the gallery, I was intrigued by the work that I saw. I was drawn to the ceramics by Kelly Smith. I have always admired ceramic artists and how they create these stunning pieces, only, with their hands. I find such a beauty in the creation of bowls, plates, cups, and vases. I understand the amount of time and patience that is put into each piece. Kelly’s work was filled with texture, neutral colors, and intricate details. I was fascinated by her process of using a wood kiln and salt kiln for certain pieces. These different finishing techniques created varying textures and colors within the series. There was an immense amount of quietness and beauty in each piece that she included in the collection. I’m excited to say that I am a proud owner of 2 pieces from such a talented artist. I look forward to welcoming more of her pieces to our collection.
The next series that caught my attention was from Rayna Hernandez. I remember her painting from the 29th Annual Stillwell Exhibition. This work caught my eye because of her exploration of identity and of her path towards embracing a culture she feels disconnected from. Rayna’s series was eye-opening, inviting viewers into a woman’s struggle with an American and Native American identity. Her life-size paintings make the viewer step into her work to see the details and layers behind what is just on the surface. We get a glimpse into what’s actually beneath the facade that we are presented with. This was an underlying theme to each of her pieces that caused me to P A U S E as I viewed her series.
She speaks about an issue that most of us face:
whether it’s with our own identity,
grappling with parts of ourselves we have lost connection with or try to suppress,
trying to reconnect with a culture that we struggle to identify with,
or finding ourselves in a culture that frowns upon being an individual.
Rayna caused me to not only spend time with each of her paintings but also reflect on my own identity.
These ephemeral shows allow me to make time to gather inspiration and immerse myself in the creative community. Viewing work of these next generations of artists pushes me to start creating again. These shows are a perfect segway into devoting time to create my encaustic pieces this summer and tap into that artistic world again.