Checking out ‘Pretty People’ in the Kwan Fong Gallery

Students are rushing to get to their next classes, making loud conversation, enjoying company with friends and learning, believe it or not. This is a normal day in the Humanities building at California Lutheran University, and every one of those days students are sure to file through the entrance of  the building, passing the Kwan Fong Gallery.

Some students simply do not know what the gallery is, thinking it is just a few paintings and sculptures created by various students and alumni, but it is much more than a proud parent putting their children’s art up on the refrigerator.

The curator behind this constantly changing gallery is Michael Pearce. Pearce is known for bringing in all different kinds of art that will pop out at people passing by, because the pieces are so unique and interesting.

According to Pearce, what most students don’t realize is that the Kwan Fong Gallery was actually created as an international gallery. It brings in various well-recognized artists to convey different themes in interesting and intriguing ways.

“I want to put in shows that are painting, drawing, or print making, or abstract painting, or whatever it is. I like to try to bring in different shows,” Pearce said.

The exhibit currently on display is known as the “Pretty People” exhibit. This showcase boasts paintings and sculptures from two different artists: sculptor Lynn Christopher and painter Zhenya Gershman.

The paintings on the walls boast a unique texture and quality that may give viewers a feeling almost as if they are looking at a sculpture that has been placed up on the wall.

In the center of the exhibit, sculptures are placed to go alongside the paintings. These sculptures were put together and then painted in great detail to create a sort of depth to them, as if they are three-dimensional paintings.

“I thought that the two artists in this show were really good in a paring,” Pearce said. “You’ve got this sculptor who is painting sculpture, and a painter who is getting quite sculptural in the method of application. You’ve got this meeting of sculptures becoming paintings and paintings becoming sculptures.”

The pieces in the Pretty People exhibit do not only resemble one another’s style, but they also complement one another perfectly under the theme.

“I think the thing that I find interesting is each artist’s take on presenting the figure. Zhenya explores one person in his different permutations, and I explore an array of people in a sort of still moment,” Christopher said.

These two perspectives encourage viewers to more closely examine humanity as a whole, and also at the individuals that make up society.

“When you have a single body in an image, you are underlining the kind of importance of that individual at that moment in time,” Gershman said.

The message sounds pretty straight forward, but the artists insist that it goes even deeper than that.

“What I want people to take away is to kind of feel their own connection to the light, and to no longer be afraid of the dark,” Gershman said.

According to both artists, they said people have unbelievable capabilities and that most would be surprised at what all they could accomplish if they put their mind to it. If individuals were to stop being afraid of what could go wrong and focus on the upside of it all, they would be able to take themselves to unimaginable places.

The impeccable pairing of these two styles and themes seem as if it was planned, and almost as though the artists collaborated on a daily basis while creating their pieces.

“I did not meet Zhenya until the artists reception actually,” Christopher said.

It’s hard to believe that two artists were able to create such a cohesive exhibit between two types of art with no collaboration at all, but that truly highlighted the chemistry between these two artists.

“I was a little bit nervous because you know you always wonder what the other work is like. Will it look good together? It’s such a wonderful match,” Gershman said.

The Pretty People exhibit is a unique showcase of incredible art, and student have another two weeks to check it out in the Kwan Fong Gallery located in the Humanities building.

Evan Underwood
Staff Writer
Published February 10th, 2016