Photo by Ryan Van Stralen
In May of this year, CSUSM alumni Kimberly Lopez and SofA fourth-year student Sarah Bricke put out an open call for artwork. According to CSUSM News, of the 30 submissions they received, 11 artists were chosen to have their work presented in the JUNCTURE art exhibit.
The work of these 11 artists was showcased in the arts gallery and performance hall from Sept. 26 to Oct. 18. With a variety of mediums ranging from paintings and drawings to photography and metalwork, the exhibit was a curation of talent found right here in the CSUSM community.
Visual Arts Senior Emily Dutkiewicz’s piece titled “Two” is acrylic on canvas and is originally part of a three-piece series but hung solo as a two-panel set with cacti painted on the right panel. “The way that people react to the piece, people either really like it or they don’t quite understand it,” said Dutkiewicz, “The collection is all inspired from road trips through the desert. I’ve got family on the east coast and growing up we’d always drive through and something about the western states and the landscapes out there…it resonates with me.”
In regards to the bright neon that colors each canvas of “Two,” Dutkiewicz said, “When I came to Cal State I was focused on drawing and I only drew in black and white. I really never wanted to touch color, until I took a painting class…I developed a style and I gravitated towards the bold colors, which I had never done before and I wanted to take a step further, so now I paint with fluorescent paint, which is even louder.”
A few steps away from “Two” is “Good Soil”, a mixed-media installation by CSUSM alumni Sarah Fruzyna. The piece includes three painted self-portraits of Fruzyna placed in gardens of lush greenery, hanging embroidery of foliage and paper cut-outs of tropical flowers and plants.
Inspired by Frida Kahlo’s self-portraits, Fruzyna said, “in many ways through painting myself I have begun to understand myself. I think that it was important for me to paint myself in how I view myself. In contrast to how others see me and notably how men may see me, in what is referred to as the male gaze…My portraits are influenced by classic portrait styles but have layers of eco-feminism and the female perspective.”
Some of the materials used in “Good Soil” were provided by the artist’s late grandmother. “I am environmentally conscious so I try my best to find ways to reflect that in my artwork. Using pieces of my grandmother’s fabrics in my work has allowed me to let go of the space the item is taking in my life and create something new,” said Fruzyna.
Getting experimental with their work and the mediums in which they presented it seemed to be a common thread with the artists of JUNCTURE. CSUSM alumnus Micah Mariah had two separate works presented in the exhibit, “Fidget” and “Settlement of Solitude”. The second is a series of original photographs with a single oil painted figures on each one.
“‘Settlement of Solitude’ is a notion about the reluctance of spending too much time alone
to the point that isolation becomes a necessity. It brings to light the difference in
connotation that word loneliness offers in comparison to solitude,” said Mariah.
When asked about that artist’s decision of mixed mediums, Mariah said, “ I’ve been more inclined to take experimental approaches in art… I chose to merge the usage of both photography, which serves the purpose of documenting life occurrences in an objective matter, intertwined with the practice that I’ve always known and loved, painting.”
Mariah wasn’t the only artist to utilize photography as a medium. CSUSM alumnus Jake Northington’s two photos on canvas, “Young Sunsets” an “Altazia Blues”, were showcased and belong to a larger series of photos from his photo book. The book highlights the beauty and power of black women with natural hair as “a response to the 2016 supreme court ruling of the 11th circuit court that employers could in fact discriminate against natural hair,” said Northington.
Northington’s goal is to use his artwork for social change and his work is not limited to just photography. He works with organizations around campus to produce videos, sculptures and even logos. “I am not a photographer simply, I’m an artist…I created the logo for the Black Student Center, the Black Student Union, the Black Sistahood, the Black Brothahood, a new Transitions Collective logo [and] a new Project Rebound Logo,” said Northington.
As a whole, JUNCTURE serves as a representation of the work and creativity of people from our own campus community. Dutkiewicz said, “The community of artists that’s in there, we’ve all crossed paths at one point. We know each other from a class somewhere along the lines. I can’t tell you how much everyone has grown. What’s in there is four years of growth.”