THREE-ARTIST SHOW SHINES AT CITY ARTS GALLERY
Left to right: Andre Stafford, Natalia Gomez and Jose Angel Hernandez contributed artwork to the City Arts Gallery's September exhibit.
NINA ROBINSON / GUARDSMAN
A shining example of what City College has to contribute to the world of art can be found at the current City Arts gallery exhibit in the Visual Arts building at the Ocean campus.
The exhibit features three talented alumni: Natalia Gomez, Jose Angel Hernandez and Andre Stafford.
These artists use symbolic imagery in their paintings and present captivating and intriguing images that demand further inspection. What the eye sees does not make literal sense because these paintings are not based in reality, despite the fact that they are presented that way though color on canvas.
“All three are very involved in their works, very serious about art,” said City College faculty member Mine Ternar Kal.
Each artist presents their respective realities via several styles including abstract, figurative, surrealist and expressionist.
One of the most beautiful things about their art is how the use of color and image has the ability to affect emotion in different ways. Abstract and surreal paintings in particular can take the viewer into another realm of reality, somewhere into the subconscious of the artist.
Stafford likes to work expressionistically and describes the content of his works as reflective of the darker aspects of life. “My art is more about noir themes and the underbelly of American society,” he says of his mysterious, shadowed paintings.
On the other end of the human scale of emotion, but using the same expressionist style, Hernandez’s paintings conjure up lighter, more harmonious feelings. In an oil on canvas, a man with uplifted arms sets a bird free. He wears a light blue sweater that stands out against the light neutral background and the bird points upward on the canvas, about to fly out of the frame of the painting and into the sky.
Gomez’s surreal, fantastical pieces are like visual conundrums. In one piece, a massive purple beast lies trapped, head hung, embedded into the side of a mountain. It remains captive to the rock while huge, billowing grey clouds loom ominously in the background.
The imagination is left to create the world where these characters exist.
For Gomez, the exhibit was also a chance to show her former instructors how far she has come in her craft.
“I'm glad that I have this opportunity to show them how appreciative I am and where I'm at now in my creative process,” she said.The exhibition is made up mostly of paintings or drawings on paper, wooden panels and canvas, but also includes collage and other types of mixed media. The exhibit also presents current City College art students a future opportunity.
“My advice to new artists is to just keep creating and you'll find your voice and medium eventually, and lean on your professors for guidance and technique tips along the way,” Gomez said.
The City Arts alumni show is on display now until Sept. 22.
ENTERTAINMENT STUFF GOES HERE