Instead of taking the class trip to the art museum, students at LaGuardia Community College brought the museum experience to the public. It is without doubt that these artists have dedicated so much of their time and effort towards their wondrous exhibition. These intriguing pieces have New York zeal with a modern artistic twist. Stephanie Zambrana, Pablo Flores, Thibaut Dapoigny, Elyse Hoffman, and Fernando Torres share their artistic views on topics that are very familiar to us.
Stephanie Zambrana merges the worlds of art and literature in her piece. Zambrana gives her artistic interpretation of her favorite books: The Giving Tree, L’Eve Future, and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. She explores the themes of feminism and misogyny with The Giving Tree and L’Eve Future. “The Giving Tree is about a tree that gives and gives and I feel that this creates the many trials and tribulations for Women,” says Zambrana. The tree in the form of the woman reflects the gender role of the expectations of women to give constantly. On the other hand, her homage to L’Eve Future reflects how the idea of perfection is detrimentally pushed on women in society.
Some people argue whether the idea of beauty is relevant to the idea of perfection. Pablo Flores makes it clear, “I don’t believe in perfection.” Although his work is open to interpretation, his bold statement speaks volumes: “BEAUTY ONLY LAST FOR X YEARS ENLIGHTMENT FOREVER.” Aestheticism and material, as suggested by Barbie in his piece, deteriorates over time. Unlike beauty, knowledge and the spiritual last forever and are passed down. What I find fascinating was the use of surrealism and of Flores’ own eye in his series of images. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” Flores states.
Thibaut Dapoigny’s and Elyse Hoffman’s eyes find inspiration in each other and in New York City. Dapoigny, native of France, captures New York life with his eco-friendly sculpture “Adam”. “New York is dirty, but you can find beauty in it,” Dapoingny comments. The work that he exhibits does not use conventional mediums. “If it is not in motion, it is boring,” he says. His sculptures capture motion while being stoic. “Eve”, a sculpture put together with 170 magnets on poster board, captures a wonderful moment in his last two years, Elyse Huffman.
Elyse Huffman answers the question: “what is art,” and responds with a series of photos of her muse, Thibaut Dapoigny. “What better way to show what art is than showing a picture of an artist,” Huffman states. She uses many formats to capture the many different aspects of her muse, seeing is how she sees the many different expressions he makes. Elyse Hoffman captures the many dimensions of Dapoigny using formats like 35 mm, 35 digital, landscape, still-life and many others. “He connects with my camera and is genuine without trying,” Huffman tells me.
Curator, Fernando Torres, sheds light on current issues with his honest opinion with society today with “Occupied”. Fernando Torres finds his inspiration, “I dismantle myself so I could create”. A representation of class hierarchy is associated with TV and media; Torres believes his piece is a representation of us. The voice of the majority, as represented by the white noise, “is rumbling with chaos,” he says. Philosophers and protesters are steadfast in the Occupy Wall Street movement; Torres, along with those involved in the movement, emphasizes that the gap between the elite and middle class is increasingly disturbing like his mannequin in “Occupied”. Written on her, “America I’ve given you all and now I’m Nothing,” a quote by Allen Ginsberg. “Rather than openly giving her voice, she is censored by corporations. She is used and labeled by capitalism. I am a product of this country and I am a victim. She is one of us,” Torres states as he stands by the mannequin surrounded by commemorative candles and flowers. His other piece, “The Wait Untitled” also serves as a commemorative piece in the exhibition.
The collaboration and exhibition of these artists and the work had a great turnout in the evening. Their views on beauty, philosophy, and society are remarkable; their artwork is a great reflection of that.
“If art has a purpose, it is to interpret life, reproduce it in fresh visions.” –Catherine Drinker Bowen