The most unconventional spaces stripped of trendy adornments often become the most conducive places for artistic creation. Hidden in the basement of the art building on campus, the stark walls of The Basement Gallery continually transforms itself and embody the artwork of various students throughout the year.
This spring, the Basement Gallery continues its annual tradition of hosting the senior art show; displaying artwork created by graduating art studio majors each week. This week marks the sixth installment of the senior show, where undergraduate students Karen Angel, Chris Jee, Mami Tomita and Shalley Duarte bare themselves with pieces they feel are representative of their overall experience as art students in Davis.
“The senior show helps artists engage in a more professional way,” said Jennifer Urrutia, co-director of the Basement Gallery. “This is good practice for the artists to be able to work with other artist, which is a big part of working in the art industry. But ultimately, the gallery allows a lot of artistic freedom.”
As each piece of artwork reveals a sense of individual character and disposition, each artist similarly reveals how they vary in vision and sensibility toward art.
For Tomita, drawing and painting was an outlet to adapting to life in the states after she moved from Japan.
“I think I liked art ever since I was little, but when I moved here, my English was really bad and I couldn’t speak English at all. I used art as a way to communicate with others,” Tomita said. “For example, the piece “Winter Cherry Blossom” depicts my background and it is something really sincere to me.”
Across from Tomita, Duarte displays her artwork of various mediums. Although oil painting is her forte, Duarte explains her growth as an artist through explorations with other mediums such as collage and printmaking techniques.
“One of my goals this quarter was to go back and finish pieces that I hadn’t gotten done. Three or four of these paintings I had gone back and painted in a few weeks,” Duarte said. “I had to keep repainting the canvas. I ended up doing texture experiments, where I shredded some old paintings and glued them together and painted them.”
Angel also showcases her paintings; one in particular being a self-portrait on canvas. Among others, portraits, landscapes and drawings emphasize Angel’s sensibility as an artist and dynamics as a painter.
In contrast to the paintings done by Tomita, Duarte and Angel, Jee showcases a series of photography.
Jee displays a series of black and white photographs which depict the body in different spaces and contexts – utilizing objects such as stockings and clothespins. Also, Jee adds an intriguing dimension in a color series titled “Self-inflicted” in which he creates an effect of a single frame utilizing multiple shots.
The Basement Gallery will feature four additional installments this quarter. The gallery is open and free to the public and for anyone interested in experiencing local art.
“It’s kind of shame how people don’t know where the basement gallery is, or let alone where the art building is located. It just shows you that not everyone is aware of the art scene,” Urrutia said. “I would tell people to open up to art because there are some really creative students here. You never know – you could be passing someone by and not know how amazing of an artist really are.”
UYEN CAO can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming installments of the senior show:
Week 7: Kevin
Frances, Sheng Lor, Kat Meler
Week 8: Nova Maldonado, Hannah
Blazek, Carrie Persson
Week 9: Joelle Provost, Elizabeth
Ottenheimer, Mikaela Watson
Week 10: Eric Hu, James Lillich, and