Monday, April 15

Undergraduate Juried Exhibition spotlights students’ stories through creativity


A section of Luke Godinez' "cousinsgiving" depicts the artist's family in pastels. The second-year art and sociology student's piece is on display as part of the Undergraduate Juried Exhibition, which runs until Feb. 29. (Anna Dai-Liu/Daily Bruin senior staff)


“Undergraduate Juried Exhibition”

New Wight Gallery

Feb. 15 to 29

9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Connecting students, the Undergraduate Juried Exhibition gives an insight into the diverse talent of UCLA’s student artists.

For the annual Undergraduate Juried Exhibition, the UCLA Department of Art invites its students to submit a piece of work that may be selected by the exhibition’s curator and juror, said exhibition artist Luke Godinez. With a new juror every year, the theme of the exhibition relies on the juror’s vision, the second-year art and sociology student said. This year’s exhibition, which runs until Feb. 29, presents a wide range of art pieces from drawings and paintings to photography and videos selected by LAXART deputy director and curator Catherine Taft. Godinez said Taft’s criteria relied on the pieces’ medium as well as a combination of themes from feminism to representations of Los Angeles and more.

“I do really appreciate that our curator decided to take on multiple themes and tackle a lot of it, which created a really beautiful and diverse show,” Godinez said. “They were able to encapsulate a lot of what the department is about.”

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When it comes to motivation, Godinez said part of the reason he participated in the exhibit was to share his art with the UCLA community. The exhibit also ended up being a way to connect with fellow artists who inspire him through their work, he said. Godinez presented a piece titled “cousinsgiving,” which he said explores identity and family. Created with soft pastels and paper, the piece was inspired by his memories of growing up surrounded by family and a specific picture of his cousins, Godinez said.

“My whole practice is an intersection of myself and my individual identity, as well as my family and their identities and the culture that surrounds us,” Godinez said.

Both the practicality of transporting his work and wanting to showcase something new and joyful were some of the reasons why he chose to submit this piece, he said. Godinez added that having a curator influenced this process, especially when keeping in mind that his work had to appeal to an outside perspective. Third-year art student Colby Golightly said besides feeling proud about his creations, the fact that he previously received positive feedback on them was one of the factors he took into consideration when submitting his work.

Colby Golightly's “Conversation with Marilyn” is a charcoal illustration of the eponymous actress and Hollywood icon. The third-year art student said they hope to inspire compassion in the hearts of onlookers. (Anna Dai-Liu/Daily Bruin senior staff)
Colby Golightly’s “Conversation with Marilyn” is a charcoal illustration of the eponymous actress and Hollywood icon. The third-year art student said they hope to inspire compassion in the hearts of onlookers. (Anna Dai-Liu/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Golightly’s piece, a charcoal-on-paper drawing titled “Conversation with Marilyn,” was inspired by Golightly’s adjustment process after moving from another state, they said. After experiencing culture shock, Golightly said Hollywood inspired his work, especially Marilyn Monroe. By focusing on her, they said they wanted to redefine the actress’s image in a way that would inspire people to take a moment to look back on Monroe’s story and have empathy towards it.

In a rushed environment such as LA, Golightly said he hopes his piece is able to make people take a moment to have compassion in a place where many move on from things quickly. Second-year art and design media arts student Ella Reaugh said her piece forces people to stop and look closely and be present while doing so.

“All I really wanted was for people, whether it’s conscious or not, to stop for a second and just look, just be still,” Reaugh said. “Sometimes with art, especially with my specific piece, there’s not really something to say. It’s not like I’m taking a stance or really anything. I just want people to be present in the moment.”

[Related: Avant-garde exhibit ‘Only the Young’ explores artistic rebellion of Korea’s youth]

The New Wight Gallery houses the works part of the Undergraduate Juried Exhibition. Second-year art and design media arts student Ella Reaugh said she hopes viewers are fully present while taking in the exhibit. (Anna Dai-Liu/Daily Bruin senior staff)
The New Wight Gallery houses the works part of the Undergraduate Juried Exhibition. Second-year art and design media arts student Ella Reaugh said she hopes viewers are fully present while taking in the exhibit. (Anna Dai-Liu/Daily Bruin senior staff)

For the exhibit, Reaugh presented a three-piece work, titled “To Wonder,” made of graphite pencil and spray paint. The piece depicts a path that connects the three pieces, which Reaugh said is about appreciating unnoticed nature. Although it does not depict a specific place, she said the piece was inspired by trampled paths created by people walking over the same place. These paths are history left by those walking through the same place, leaving their mark along the way, she said.

Golightly said the exhibit’s opening reception was an opportunity to share this experience and connect with fellow artists by being able to create something together and celebrate with one another. The exhibition was a meaningful opportunity to emphasize the importance of community within a field that tends to be very individualistic, Golightly added. Through the broad criteria, the exhibition’s communal body of work represents part of the diverse talent of the art department, Godinez said.

“It’s (art is) so diverse, it’s so beautiful and it encapsulates a lot of the world at large,” Godinez said. “People should be open-minded when coming into our exhibition and looking at the work and seeing what every person has to offer and the stories behind every artist.”


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