black and white csulb artist yiren kwak


For this weeks artist interview, I decided to go to the Gatov-West gallery. The gallery had been named “Conflicting Landscapes: Harmony and Discordance” much of which had been painted over winter break. The artist’s within this gallery were that of Yiren Elaine Kwak (who I interviewed) and Maryanne Gonzales.


At first glace, the gallery looks beautiful. There’s various colors and many of which are green and reflecting that of the environment. Looking deep, however, one can see that there are aspects in which Kwak and Gonzales are trying to point out. “Green is peace, gray shows the death of the city.” says Kwak who paints from her own memory and visualization.


Kwak finds her inspiration from the environment she is surrounded by. She lives on a hill and therefore sees gorgeous landscapes everywhere she looks. From these, she paints from observation hoping to convey her memories and feelings throughout the work of art.


When describing her method, Kwak says she makes what she sees her own by not only painting from her memory but also “subtracting the crap”. She usually starts off with smaller sections and sketches before she paints (even though much of her work is done with acrylic, she considers herself an oil pastel painter).


What I liked the most about Kwak’s pieces was that each one, although all depicting some sort of environmental aspect, was individual and had it’s own meaning behind it. No landscape or piece was identical to the one next to it- each was unique and had it’s own creative values to it. You could tell through the colors that she used (and the way she descries the gallery when interviewed) that Kwak is extremely passionate about the environment and the way her art is influenced by it.


Although I didn’t get the chance to interview Maryanne Gonzales, I still got the chance to admire her art. I loved the way in which she used charcoal to show the dark, bleakness and then incorporated colors within. The way in which she incorporates geometrical shapes and patterns also allows for more interpretation from the one viewing her art (for me, I feel as though the dull, gray and anti-symmetrical shapes are meant to symbolize the advancement of cities and the like while the colors are meant to show the near-death of the environment attempting to penetrate through).


All in all, I found this gallery to be captivating and would highly recommend it to another!


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