Exhibits featuring graduate student art opens at Phebe Conley

Gabrielle Marie Luo's exhibit features acrylic landscapes weaved together with driftwood, seaweed and other plant materials. (Kameron Thorn/The Collegian)

A diverse selection of artwork by four Fresno State art graduate students is now showing at the Phebe Conley Art Gallery.

Through various mediums, the artists challenge the mundane and ponder the overlapping realities that exist within our lives.

A series of 42 paintings by Attika Chanthavong is on display in the first room of the gala. 

The narrative paintings recap Hoodslam 2019, an edgy, LGBTQ+ friendly underground professional wrestling event.

“In this series of paintings, my intent was to show that queer people can exist in all spaces, including that of a typically white cis-heteronormative male-dominated spectacle of professional wrestling,” Chanthavong said.

Actual footage of Hoodslam 2019 is also available for viewing across from the collection of paintings.

The adjacent room features artwork by Gabrielle Marie Luo, who paints acrylic landscapes and weaves together driftwood, seaweed and other plant materials that she has collected from her meditative walks.

“We portray our world through various lenses: the ordinary — mind, emotions, body and senses as well as the non-ordinary — dreams, imagery, visualization, meditation, shamanic journeys and mystic experiences,” Luo said. “An interconnection of these states of consciousness is where I choose to practice from.”

Luo’s exhibit also features an interactive display that calls upon the spectator to join the artistic process by weaving yarn onto a provided loom.

Audia Dixon’s large ethereal paintings displayed in the center room of the gala similarly call for audience participation.

“I aim to begin a conversation about the juxtaposition between past and present, and memory and reality,” Dixon said.

Dixon’s colorful paintings reminisce on the naive, worry-free blissful days of childhood. However, in each painting Dixon also employs a negative space. 

She said this space symbolizes the looming prejudice that many children of color will eventually come to encounter.

“I attempt to capture young Black female figures glowing in a fantastical world, an imperfect Edenic playground, where the present and past dwell on the same plane,” Dixon said.  

The final room is adorned with Nicole Ellis’ silver gelatin and cyanotype prints.

“These photographs speak a language in which I cannot do so effectively with my words, simulating moments of extreme emotional distress, vulnerability and discomfort with brief glimpses of hope and light,” Ellis said. “My use of self-portraiture in combination with physical manipulation to negatives, splatters of emulsion, and tears and cuts to the surface of paper printed on allow for my emotions to speak without the means for words.”

The M.A. in Art Graduate Project Exhibition is free to all audiences and will run until Nov. 20 within the Phebe Conley Art Gallery.

 The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Parking is $5 during the weekdays, but free with coupon code 262321 at any parking kiosk Mon. – Fri.

 Parking is free on Saturday.

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