The Fullerton College Art Gallery opened its doors for the last show of the season last Thursday. The show is curated by Art Gallery Director Carol Henke and designed by gallery students. The concept is to show the cultural perspectives of life and death from the viewpoints of artists: Julie Yeo, Poli Marchal and Adam Watts.
The show is set up so that you turn to the right and begin at Yeo’s pieces and carry on through to Marchal’s work. You are then guided towards Watt’s display and are circled through to the gallery’s interactive tree of life.
Yeo’s Tiny Painting series were inspired by her upbringing with Korean shamanism. The original pieces are mounted directly to the wall using tacky glue.
They depict the communication of the living and the dead with the use of symbolism like the lines that are seen frequently in the scenes to show the connection between the worlds.
The larger pieces are from Yeo’s Dream Speak series. Although the mixed media abstract appear womb-like, they are a continuation of the living communicating with the dead while dreaming. The offerings show a kind of peacefulness and contentment with the hope that our loved ones who have passed are always connected to us.
Marchal’s pieces come from a more organic place as they are based on the Cieba tree, found in Puerto Rico where she was raised.
Cantwell explained that the Cieba tree is known as the “Tree of Life” and the mythology behind the prints is from the artist’s combination of indigenous American, Spanish, Celtic and African beliefs.
The cycle starts, as trees do, at the roots with people being born. Then growing up spiritually, branching out and finally reaching up to the leaves or to the point where they reach enlightenment and are worthy to transcend into the heavens.
The other prints in her section have a Mesoamerican feel to them with serpents traveling through the life cycle.
Turning the corner from Marchal’s section to Watts’ display, the scene changes from the organic origins of life to the tangible reflections of death.
Watts is a musician most known for his work on pop songs found in Disney productions such as “Camp Rock” and “Hannah Montana.”
The 3-D mixed media pieces are as visually striking as they are creepy. Each display is meant to be a visual representation of music from Watts, which one would expect it to be dark and menacing, but it’s soulful and melodic.
Small skeletal remains positioned like they are flying through the air or posed in old medical boxes with lights shining through give a feeling that there is life after death.
“I loved how he put skeletons in a frame and all the intricate pieces,” said Nikki Escamilla, art student.
Solomie Amuanuel, art student and show visitor, said Watts’ work has more of an antique feel to it rather than an art feel.
Closing out the circle is an interactive piece that was hand-drawn directly on the wall by Deborah Cantwell with the question, “Life after death, what do you imagine it to be?”
Visitors are invited to engage in art by writing their interpretations on leaves and sticking them on the branches of the tree.
Answers range from funny, to unsure, to contemplative.
The Art Gallery has a book of all the art work included in the show available to order for $12
The Life Cycle is open from Oct. 27 to Dec. 1. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m.- Noon and 2-4 p.m.