Artist: Vanessa Olivarez
Media: sculpture, video, film
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Werby Gallery
About the Artist
For this week’s artist conversation, I got to speak to Vanessa Olivarez! The show she put on in the gallery was her Senior Solo Show, which tells me she’s currently a senior. She is graduating at the end of this spring semester with a major in Sculpting! Congrats! She used to be a drawing and painting major but then switched to sculpture because she found it easier to express her feelings and what she wanted to do more than expressing it with drawing. She then found that she was more into screenings and videos because with sculptures, she couldn’t express/incorporate her ideas completely, so she went to film videos. She is from Long Beach and has commuted throughout the years to CSULB. The main point of her show was to feel vulnerable. She explains that she just wants a safe spot to allow anyone to feel whatever they wanted to feel and to let them know it’s okay to be human and there’s no reason to hide your feelings. She said that she creates things impulsively and her ideas come and go. She always brings her camera along with her to help capture ideas that she can incorporate into her pieces.
Vanessa’s work seemed intriguing to look at but I also felt very disturbed by walking around the gallery because it was darker inside and the colors and music were all flashing and playing, so it gave off this weird vibe that something’s going on but I just didn’t know what. From all of this going on, I felt like she was trying to tell us something that was going on in her head or this is how she feels. The colors that were flashing were bright colors as in neon pink, purple, blue, and green, and because the room was dark, the colors shined even brighter. There were a lot of objects used to showcase the thoughts that were going through Vanessa’s head.
The content of the show contained a lot of the pieces were really random and some were set up as if it was a part of a room or a den where kids hang out to play or watch TV. There were chairs that were inflatable and a TV with headsets that played disturbing music. She talked about a specific piece that was shaped into a trapezoid and how when reflected off, the viewer can see themselves in that screen, but there is no distinct face to be seen. The screen is cut off so it allows people to see themselves as well. Vanessa mentioned she tried to make her pieces universal enough for everyone to understand.
My Experience/ Synthesis
I thought that Vanessa’s Senior Solo Show was really interesting and a bit disturbing, which is the effect that I assumed she wanted viewers to feel. Walking around, I didn’t know what was going on and it felt like everything was calling out to my name to go check it out. So I went over to each piece to try to make a sense of it but I couldn’t and because of this, I thought that maybe we just can’t understand everyone’s thoughts sometimes and whatever is going through their head could be hard to explain. With Vanessa’s work, this explains to me how hard it can be to showcase feelings and to express them.
Thank you! Here are some photos from the gallery!