‘Now is the Happiest Time of Your Life’: New exhibit satirizes current social conditions


Photo by Karly Kiefer- Reporter

“The Gibbering Soul” by Carl Dobsky will be displayed alongside more of his work in the Soiland Humanities’ Kwan Fong Gallery until Feb. 3, 2022.

Karly Kiefer, Reporter

Figurative painter Carl Dobsky will have his oil paintings on display in the California Lutheran University Kwan Fong Gallery starting Nov 12. until Feb 3. His six-piece collection is displayed in the art exhibit titled, “Now is the Happiest Time of Your Life.” 

“I think the paintings are satirizing with the current social condition but that doesn’t mean that they are unhappy paintings. The paintings are extraordinary and fill me with awe,” said Michael J. Pearce, guest art curator and art professor at Cal Lutheran.

The theme of this art exhibit is about superficiality and capitalist consumerism. The name “Now is the Happiest Time of Your Life” is a social criticism because it’s not the happiest time and people are rather upset with the way the world is, Pearce said. 

“It seems to be tongue and cheek and sarcastically, cynically funny because there is a lot of stress going on,” Dobsky said in a phone interview. 

Regarding the creative process, Dobsky has always been curious about the world around him and reads a lot of political philosophy and news.

“I keep a running list making sure to add any random tidbits that caught my interest. I then go back through that list and make a series of several sketches,” Dobsky said. “The preliminary sketches and getting it all worked out so that you know you will have an image that has a pretty strong presence, that is actually very hard.”

Dobsky said style acts as a representation of things and speaks about philosophical questions. 

“Very common idea in the Renaissance that painting, and poetry were sister arts, and that poetry was a speaking picture,” Dobsky said. “I think that’s a very powerful idea.”  

Pearce chose to display Dobsky’s paintings out of admiration for his attention to detail and pure passion for painting.

“He has a very active imagination and uses it to create interesting ways to look at culture as it is in the present, accurately critiquing,” Pearce said. “Each painting is a side of Carl’s imagination and he uses oil to put it into reality.” 

Dobsky used oil on linen canvas to create the paintings, representing the cruelness of humanity.

“Oil is a classical technique and one of the beautiful things about oil it allows you to paint with these lush flesh tones, it feels really rich and makes it feel like there is great depth,” Pearce said. “This painting feels like you could walk into it.” 

Dobsky’s hope for students is to inspire thought and have them actively engage with the work and give them something unexpected to think about.

“It would be cool to have people view art as this thing that wasn’t far removed from everyday life and activities and that it does have a bearing on things,” Dobsky said. “The arts can be very influential in developing people’s perspectives and knowledge of subjects. Paintings are very communicative and represent certain messages.” 

Pearce said the paintings are unique because Dobsky has pulled the creations from his imagination.

“The secret of making a really great painting is that it has to give, and I think it is something about all artists,” Pearce said. “If they are really giving themselves, they make great art. I think Carl gives himself completely when he is making these paintings.”

“Now is the Happiest Time of Your Life” is now on exhibit in the Kwan Fong Gallery located in the Soiland Humanities building.