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the theme is love

Art History Undergraduate Association Ninth Annual Art Show Fall 2021

www.thethemeislove2021.weebly.com


the theme is love the theme is love the theme is love the theme is love the theme is love the Intheme love a culture thatis offers to sell us every desire, in the of the Hallmark card, theagetheme is love how do we talk about love? the theme is love the theme is love the theme is love the theme is love the theme is love the theme is love


foreword

The Art History Undergraduate Association at UC Irvine, with support from UCI Illuminations, presents our ninth annual student exhibition: THE THEME IS LOVE. Encouraging artists to explore the different forms and meanings of love through their artwork, we posed the question: In a culture that offers to sell us every desire, in the age of the Hallmark card, how do we talk about love? The artworks featured in this exhibition express personal stories, desires, and anxieties about love across a variety of mediums — and a yearning for human connection that especially resonates in the context of a global pandemic. Whether created by a single artist or through collaboration as one half of a pair, each piece weaves its own thread into the show's tapestry... illustrating how we approach interpersonal relationships across time and space, how profoundly we experience love both new and old, and how we learn to love ourselves and each other.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Curation

Graphic Design Web Design Special Thanks oT

Carly Chan Oliver Golden Audrey Hernandez Peterson Adam Jacobson Arina Lurie Peter Hoc Tran-Hoang Alexis Nguyen Joanna Nguyen Zoe Portnoff Carly Chan Zoe Portnoff UCI Illuminations The UCI Art History Department Cecilia Flanagan Friends of Art History


ARTISTS

First Place Second Place Third Place Honorable Mentions

Featured Artists

Adrian Santiago Andrea Badillo Mary Jee Yoon Kim Esmeralda Bobadilla Russell Wong Audrey Hernandez Peterson Renee O’Connor Gustavo Necochea Adrienne Santiago Vanna Tran Angela Guerra Peter Hoc Tran-Hoang




FIRST PLACE and nobody lived happily ever-after

adrian santiago

By Adrian Santiago

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“and nobody lived happily ever-after” is a painting I created that continuously examines a “love” letter which I received during the holidays out of a failed-relationship that I scrambled, traced and etched onto the canvas. It questions both my own perception of the letter and the intention of the writer. Did I just over-romanticize and create a whole new meaning and fantasy out of the letter? And what was the writer’s full intention with all of the words that were written? Where were they heading with it?


Interview by Adam Jacobs on

What was your process on this piece? It was based off of a love letter given to me around Christmas time. It was with this potential love interest, like things were going well, until one day, all of a sudden things changed. We’d been talking for a while, until they turned a total 180 all of a sudden. So, I was left kind of empty and puzzled, like, “hey what’s going on?” So, me being an overthinker, I kept asking myself, “did I do anything wrong?” That’s what the backstory was. I’m primarily a sculptor; I usually use everyday objects and give life to them by assigning meaning based on the memories I attach to them. The question for this piece was, how do I use a letter? A letter that was confined to paper. So I tore it up, scrambled it around — it’s pretty much my metaphor of me continuously investigating: what did I do wrong, what happened? And no matter how much you scramble it, it’s pretty much never going to make sense.

What materials did you use? For this one I used acrylic paint and mixed it with some modelling paste so it gives it that really thick texture. While it was still setting, I projected every part of the letter on the canvas and etched it from there. So basically, the handwriting on there was the handwriting of the person who wrote the letter.

How does this compare to your past works? 2


It was a bit of a challenge for this work because it was for a painting class — so I had to use paint. For my past works I used different materials, but it would be whatever served best for the intention of the artwork. For instance, I created a piece with a walker [“I may not see you, but I know you’re walking with me”] — because I work at a senior community, so I see walkers every day — I made a piece that serves as a tribute to those who passed away, having gotten close with some of the residents there. I put a mold over the walker to emphasise my relationship with those who passed away how my experience with them helped shape my character and how I look at life.

Why the pink bar? That pink was the color of the pen that that person used to write their signature at the end of their letters, and of course I didn’t want to put their name on it. So I kind of made it look like it was erased. The sense of redaction makes it seem like “okay, we don’t want this person anymore.”

Did you have any specific intentions with the title? To begin with, they were a Disney fanatic, so it was like a total tragedy. Looking at the original letter, it looked like everything was going well, but at the end it was a bit of a tragedy. And thinking of how I sort of built my own fantasy out of the letter, I don't know what the writer’s intention was; maybe it was them, or maybe it was also me. Maybe I over romanticized the letter. Maybe I gave it so much meaning that I made a fantasy out of it — that expectation was something I created on my own and it could never be achieved.

What do you think of the narrative ... of 3


...love in modern storytelling? A lot of it seems to come from this Disney defined “happily ever after .” There’s definitely been a culture shift and in this age it’s rapidly changing. I guess those images of the happy ending don't happen much more and people are starting to become very realistic. There are a lot more people getting together without necessarily the ties of marriage; there’s open relationships; there’s people who raise families completely on their own as single parents. I, myself, have a bit of a difficulty catching up with what it's all really supposed to mean.

Have you ever experienced heartbreak? Yes. Many times. (The one relating to this piece being one of the more recent.) Sometimes I turn to painting to just cope with those.

How do you look at that relationship, now having spent time away from it and processed it through your art? Honestly, I realized it could have been both of our faults; they did things, I did things. I was basically thinking about it the whole time when making the painting.

You hinted at how you will translate these heartbreaks and emotions into your paintings. Is your art an outlet that you use to process those feelings as well? My professors have described my artistic process as a cathartic visual representation. I’m an overthinker... 4


...naturally, so I think a lot about “what I could have done,” “what I should have done,” but eventually I get to throw them all into the artwork that I make.

Does making the art help you put button a on it in a kind of way? Yeah, having an outlet like this really helps; it’s a good release. It helps you look at silver linings out of every terrible situation.

Maintaining and forging relationships has become an interesting challenge in the pandemic with so much time apart . How has that made you look at relationships; either current or past, platonic or romantic; in the past 16 months? It just made me realize how much we need someone. We usually need someone we love, especially in rough times. I basically spent the last 16 months staying in my on-campus apartment literally by myself. I don’t get to see my family, I don’t get to see my classmates, go out, go to a club, go to wherever, ya know? I realized I was changing personality wise; I found myself getting distant from people. Having someone, like an emotional support, it’s really really important.

Moving forward, what does it look like both for your art and your relationships? In terms of art, I think the pandemic gave me a chance to reflect on myself. I took the time just to reevaluate myself, look at how I approach things, reassess my life from top to bottom. Not just have to worry about other people. I took... 5


...some time off from social media, realized what the things I like to make art about are and kind of identified key parts of my artistic identity. We’re not really out of the containment lifestyle, and I know we’re trying to regain a sense of normalcy, but it’s still not the same, so I’m just taking the time to work on myself again.

Where can people find you or your other works? I post most of my art to my Instagram @adreezyjones!

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SECOND PLACE As W e Lay Here

andrea badillo

By Andrea Badillo

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This sculpture focuses on the specific euphoric sensation one feels from their scalp and down their spine when with a lover and the gentle reluctance of leaving them once reunited after navigating a pandemic. Half of the vertebrae was hand-sculpted between the artist and her lover — the clay pieces took a total duration of 7 hours to complete.




Unnamed Reading By Andrea Badillo

andrea badillo

A rendition of the tarot card “The Lovers.” This card is concentrated on relationships in your life and may signal you to unify dual forces — to come to terms that everything has a good or bad, a challenge or an opportunity. The tension in these hands, whether tearing the other apart while separating or fighting to keep each other close, are existing in unison, building on the bond that seemingly holds them together.

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Interview by Peter Hoc TranHoang

So what year are you this coming fall? I’m going to be in my fourth year, exciting!

What are you excited about? I’m adamant about having my last year being in person and having a last stretch in an environment of dedicated help I started in and will hopefully finish in.

How has your artistic journey been up to this point? W ere you always a sculptor or do you feel like you are experienced in a media? Funnily enough, I actually entered UCI wanting to be an animator. It's been a very entertaining journey because I started off wanting to work at a computer all day and build up layers to produce animation, as I was very intrigued about this medium that could create images that could come to life. But once I gave sculpture a try, I fell in love with working with my hands and producing artwork that came to life in a real 3D space and could be present with its audience physically. After that point, I realized that I honestly preferred working physically for 7 hours rather than at a computer screen for the same amount of time.

How was being forced to work at a computer screen for the past year? Painful? It's been… an experience. It was very hard because my... 12


...creative space in this pandemic hasn't been the best - I’ve had to work in a 4 x 3 ft space in the corner of my living room. My work has taken a bit of a toll because of that space limitation — especially working with ceramics/greenware. Clay is something you definitely don’t want in your plumbing or in your breathing space too long, and I’ve been relying heavily on an outdoor faucet and towels to keep my space and hands clean after long projects. That being said, having a tedious clean-up makes for long days to avoid having to clean up more times than I have to. It's also nice to see how my work has benefited from having to learn how to document my work and keeping track of what I’ve done and what hasn’t worked. My art has definitely changed as a result.

Do you feel like your piece could have only come out of the pandemic or do yo feel like the pandemic hindered the process? I feel like this piece could’ve done a little better if I had an actual studio space but it’s definitely been a product of my environment, it was fueled by a budding relationship that I found with my partner at this time.

A pandemic relationship! Sounds something that so many people find and never really expect . How did you guys find each other? as W it through art? And why was it important for you to include your partner in the creation of the piece I feel like the start of a relationship is very pandemic-esque since we met through mutual friends and talked all the time in Discord. He’s a film major, and we started collaborating... 13


...because documentation required me to upload sculptures of my photos throughout the year. In turn, we started seeing each other more often, and realized we shared all of these interests that allowed the collaboration to feel completely natural. I feel like it was important for me to include him directly into this piece since we’ve been working on the documentation side of things so much and we wanted to try something new. I gave him a crash course in ceramics to help me produce this rough semblance of the vertebrae, I would polish it over and get the details in to finish it off. Every time I introduce someone to the texture of clay, it’s very fun to see how they try to handle it and very quickly find out what can work and what doesn’t — and I start teaching from there. This process of helping him learn what I sort of specialized in and having some human contact alongside a creation was very intimate — seeing as it had been a year since the studio spaces and any social interaction amongst artists since the lockdown.

Is the vertebrae a portrait? Of who? It’s a portrait of both of us. I wanted to originally do two spines but one was already really work intensive, like an hour for every three vertebrae, and it was hard to finish before the show started and my own personal deadlines. Despite it only being one spine, it's something we both felt. It's set up in the camper we hang out in and chat, and it was only until later on where we started being more intimate together in that space and having our bodies closer.

So tell me all about the construction of your work; I’m really interested in the choice of materials particularly in the contrast between hard and soft . 14


I am very excited to use clay as a material, because like love, clay has so many properties that are very easy to mold but also very difficult to maintain if you don’t nurture it. Clay has an incredible memory, so if you lay it down mindlessly you might have a crack. It's a finicky material, since you have to keep an eye on it, and while there's periods where it can handle being left alone, you need to pay a lot of attention and be present for every step of its creation otherwise it may cost you the whole artwork. So I feel like since it's a very physical and demanding material, it was the perfect medium for the message of the show.

How long have you been sculpting? I’ve been sculpting for about two and a half years at this point, usually I do more textile and ceramic work. I used to be more into woodworking but ceramics and textiles seemed more ‘easy’ to carry into the home, since bandsaws and handsaws are not very home-friendly.

Is there a certain cost saving aspect to your work? The price for this piece was really hard to measure because it's clay I’ve had since I started sculpting. I haven’t had to buy more clay at all. A pack of clay is about 25 dollars but if you make larger pieces I can see the cost adding up. I’ve invested more in glazes and paying to use a kiln down in Costa Mesa since I have no kiln of my own.

Do you love art? There are times that I feel like I have a love-hate relationship with it, but like other kinds of love it demands a lot of patience and sacrifice . Seven hours for a spine is a pretty inten commitment. 15


With regards to clay, I’ve had near breaking points where I am struggling so badly with a project that I’m trying to create or recreate where at any stage in the process of ceramics something can go wrong. It can be a frustrating experience when everything goes well until it comes out of the kiln and it has exploded, fallen apart, or cracked. You never know how glazes are gonna react to each other and come out a different color than you expected. You basically have to roll with the punches, you have to learn how to manage your expectations and go in a different direction than you intended. So yes, very much like love.

Why are you attracted to very visceral subject matter to communicate a concept such as love? Do you see a disconnect between the body and the heart or is it intrinsically connected? I wanted to focus on the spine because it's a very integral part of the human body, it's a huge support system. My sister fragmented a part of her spine recently, so she finds it very hard to do the simplest thing like bend down or stand for too long before she experiences pain. Helping her out has really informed my decision to make this piece since the spine is otherwise so overlooked and taken for granted. Since it's a very fundamental structure for a body, it felt like a good part of the body to use to communicate a very fundamental emotion.

Going forward, how do you feel like your process will be changed from working under pandemic conditions? Do you think it will be difficult to readjust? I think I’ll give it a month before realizing I suddenly will have the guidance of my peers working in the studio. The... 16


...environment of the studio is so different from the autonomous situation of working from home, but it will feel really freeing to work in a bigger space with the appropriate equipment and the help of my fellow students. I'd feel very liberated to do bigger projects. The thing I took away from the pandemic was to not brush off documentation. Focusing on documenting performance and sculptural work has been really eye opening, especially since it's a huge challenge to create an interactive piece for an audience that isn’t there. Documentation is a really fundamental aspect in keeping the work alive and ‘functioning’ since I’ve started to view the camera as my audience — with a guided view into the pieces I’ve made.

Do you feel equipped to give advice for incoming freshmen on what to expect from the UCI art major and the new and honestly daunting experience of working around others in a studio, especially after virtual school? The only thing in my mind that might be helpful is definitely not to be shy about exhausting your resources. There’s gonna be people there to help you. There’s gonna be people who hold you accountable for good execution in the most efficient way. You don’t need to feel alone in your project too, especially since most of your peers are on the verge of mental breakdowns because of deadlines and the unpredictable course of our projects. The diversity of thought and advice can take you to really surprising and fulfilling places, so don't be shy to put yourself out there and ask for help. Even during virtual schooling we helped each other, so no matter what, we have each other.

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THIRD PLACE 언니 older ( sister) By Mary Jeeoon Y Kim

I felt left out growing up as the only girl in a household with four...

mary jee yoon kim

The beaded bookmarks, trinkets in containers, and personalized journal are emblematic of a time in my life where a Korean woman introduced me to the craft scene. When I think of my fondest memories, I think back to the time spent folding paper stars, learning to play Korean jacks (gonggi), and immersing myself in scrapbooking journals with whatever materials I had at the time. This piece is an ode to an older sister figure I had growing up. Her name was Jimini and she was my oldest brother’s girlfriend at the time.

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...brothers who shared an interest in gaming. I didn’t feel like I belonged and a part of me longed to have the connection my brothers shared and the places they would go together.

mary jee yoon kim

It didn’t feel lonely when Jimini was around. She was the closest person I had to being an older sister. She would paint my nails and tell me how pretty I looked whenever I saw her. These were things that were really important to me at the time. I think I just felt glad that someone wanted to spend time with me.

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For some reason the image of Jimini on her bedazzled flip phone has always stuck to me. I tried to recreate the colors, textures, and materials Jimini and I worked with when it came to crafting or decorating stationery. Working with these materials brought me back to that precious time in my life. Although she’s not in my life anymore, I’m thankful for the tender moments we shared.




Interview by oe Z Portnoff

When did you first become interested in art and photography? I first became interested in art when I was pretty young, maybe four or five years old. We didn’t have a lot of art supplies at home — I didn’t grow up in a financially stable place, so drawing was my way to be creative. All you need is paper and a pencil, so that’s how I started. With photography, I remember always being really obsessed with the coming-of-age genre and aesthetic in the early 2000s. I think my interest in photography derived from wanting to know more about my family history. We kept family photo albums buried in some type of hallway cabinet and that was one of the few ways I learned about my ancestry and something that I was culturally a part of. I remember coming across so many beautiful color palettes and wanting to mimic that and the feeling of the past. It wasn’t until I graduated from high school that I started working with film photography. So far I’ve only worked with 35mm, polaroids, and digital photography.

You’re capturing such nostalgic objects while photography is simultaneously such a nostalgic media, since it’s all about capturing and preserving the past . I really love the scale and vibrancy of you photographs because they feel really intimate and playful . These small objects are also loaded with such a sense of personal history, too . What drew you to photograph these particular items? 22


I really wanted to focus on objects that created nostalgia. As a kid, I didn’t have a lot of belongings and I grew up with a lot of brothers so I never really had toys of my own. Growing up, I would just get little trinkets from the schoolbook stores and save them. I think the specific materials and visual elements encapsulate my childhood. I was heavily invested in the crafting scene in middle school, when I started making porcelain clay charms, and I think that obsession has always stayed with me. Crafting and working with my hands — doing a lot of detail-intensive work — was how I had fun in middle school. I made paper stars with my Korean friends and made dangling phone charms and things like that.

I also love the objects and collage elements you chose because I felt like they’re so ubiquitous in Asian American childhoods — going to J-town and K-town and collecting all these little trinkets and crafting stationary. It brought up memories for me of not only the act of creating and crafting, but also the experience of going on trips to these specific Asian American neighborhoods and malls. You’re so right — going to the craft store is such an adventure in itself, I remember my friends and I would get super excited about that. We’d always jaywalk across the street just to get there sooner. The objects really draw you in, too. Seeing something so small and cute and detailed — it’s something you can pay attention to really easily. When you’re a kid, everything around you is a lot bigger and so much of your surroundings can be ugly, and these miniature objects are something you can connect to and identify... 23


...with. I remember I used to get super obsessed with making sticker books from morning glory and collecting these pencils from the small stationery store in H Mart and Asian Garden Mall.

You mentioned in your artist statement that this collection of photographs is dedicated to an older sister figure . Could you talk a little more about that inspiration? I really felt a connection with Jimini when I was growing up. She was present in my life for a couple years because my oldest brother was dating her, and because I grew up with so many brothers, it didn’t feel like I had any connection to my femininity. She was kind of the gateway to that. I have such sweet memories of her because she was so kind and bubbly. Having a figure in my life who I finally felt connected to, after feeling really isolated in a family of people who didn’t really understand my experiences and perspective, was really important to me.

She sounds like such an empathetic person. My older sister’s friends would never want to hang out with me! It’s always really special when someone takes that extra time and attention to connect with you . That’s so true! My brother’s other friends weren’t like her. I felt important and seen when we spent time together as well. Sometimes, we’d visit her mom’s salon and I’d get my hair dyed, too. It was always so good seeing her.

What is your usual photographic style ... 24


...or focus? My photographic focus has definitely changed since I first started. I don’t photograph a lot of small objects — this is definitely different for me, it’s such an objective perspective. I mainly do portrait photography now and I really like themes of family, and capturing candid moments. I think my photographic style is really simple and clean. I try to avoid busy scenery and some of my inspiration comes from Japanese street photographers, fine art photographers, and fashion photographers like Issei Suda, Ren Hang, Petra Collins, and Cho Gi Seok. I want to explore and experiment with everything in photography.

Can you talk a bit about the technique and composition of these photographs? I was using an 18-100 millimeter zoom lens. I used this white backdrop to create a pristine void, definitely a very Korean-influenced aesthetic. A lot of Korean art that I like is really playful but balanced with something minimal. I feel like these objects bring me so much joy but it’s common for us to overlook them. To photograph them brings more attention to them and asserts their presence.

How has studying at UC Irvine shifted your artistic practice? I’m currently working on a pitch deck for my next film, and I’m learning to retouch photos at the moment. I think before, when I was making art, I was thinking conceptually but I wasn’t thinking about the cultural inspiration I could pull from. I never really focused on my heritage and how to... 25


...make something that’s a part of me. I think about that more consciously now. I think more about my own narrative rather than what people expect from me. Being around so many talented artists at UCI makes me want to do more research in my art, too. When I was creating a collage for this series, I remember I was taking a class on sculpture and we were learning about assemblage. I got inspired by other assemblage sculptors who forge artworks out of materials that they own or are easily accessible. I was really inspired by the Los Angeles assemblage movement because I resonated with that idea of making do with what you have. When you collage, you’re bringing in items that remind you of a certain age or moment. When I look at that collage journal, seeing all those colors and materials bring me back to my childhood.

Yes, the way we relate to objects is really highlighted with collage . Totally! When I collage, sometimes it’s so scary to put something down and say “I’m done.” Since these objects are all from my childhood and have all these memories associated with them.

Are there any art or pop culture, subculture movements that particularly influence you? A lot of Asian subcultures influenced me. There’s this magazine called Fruits Magazine that has a heavy focus on early-2000s Harajuku and Lolita street fashion. I’m also really influenced by the Korean fashion designer Hyein Seo who creates these playful constructions that look so simple and layered, but never get boring. I’ve been in this phase where I want to recreate the early 2000s cyber girl look with influences coming from films like Fallen Angels and... 26


...Memento Mori.

What’s next for you in art? This art show really gave me the opportunity to explore nostalgia as a theme. I think I want to work in sculpture more… I’ve had this idea of recreating these bedazzled phones from the 2000s. I really want to do a photo project with that, and capture the nostalgia I have for the 2000s! I also really want to go to a design school in the future and create art for galleries.

How do film and photography influence each other in your practice? I feel like a lot of film is about design and photography is in the same realm as that. Photography can provide really great training for filmmaking, and vice-versa. Framing and composition, and finding your own personal view on how you literally see things — frame ratios, naturalistic versus formal, there’s so much room for experimentation and finding your style. I used to be a Film and Media studies major, and now I’m doing Digital Film. I took one class in FMS called Black Radical Film Theory and Filmmaking, and it opened my eyes to how important representation in media is and how much it can impact the audience in its circulation. Studying FMS helped me to become more well-rounded in understanding different perspectives, and the role that film and images play in cultural systems. Especially during the pandemic when we’re all so attached to screens, I think it’s so important to have a background in what it means to be represented by on-screen bodies and to continue being critical of the narratives that media produces.

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HONORABLE MENTION Two Esmes By Esmeralda Bobadilla

esmeralda bobadilla

This piece was inspired by Frida Kahlo’s “Two Fridas.” Similar to Frida, I battle between this dual identity. This dual identity being raised in a Mexican household and growing up in America. The figures are collaged onto watercolor paper with an abstract background to the contrast between the rendered figures. I chose to use only black and white to represent that although there are two cultures I interact with, at the end of the day both are a part of who I am. I relate this to the theme “Love” because this piece is about self discovery and learning to love the who you are as a person.

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HONORABLE MENTION You Are By Russell W ong

russell wong

My girlfriend, Erica, and I wrote and produced a song together to portray how we met and are grateful for one another. We both love music and enjoyed working on this song, especially since it was about our love. We hope that this song can inspire others to still meet new people online.

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32 Furby V alentines

audrey hernandez peterson

By Audrey Hernandez Peterson

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A crush stirs our stomach with nerves and insecurities, yet gives our life the sweetest of the perfect piece of candy. In our minds, we imbue the crush with fantasies of Target shopping and physical intimacy. When we are around them, we have the giddiness of hanging out store bought Valentines in elementary school. We hear them in the perfect pop song, or think about them when we feel the most alone. It can all be overwhelming, especially when we are too afraid to share our feelings.



Lady Legs

renee o’connor

By Renee O’Connor

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During the pandemic, I went through a break up, found healing in platonic love, and became more intentional in my journey of self-love and self-acceptance (and consequently stopped shaving my legs). While pushing myself to go outdoors and just be with myself, I became inspired by a pattern of ladybugs following me wherever I went. They were in my room, on my produce, and crawling around me in the grass. In this printmaking series I worked to connect the forms of my female body to those of the nature surrounding me and providing me comfort. Being with yourself in nature can be a loving experience too.



Occupied

gustavo necochea

By Gustavo Necochea

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Being away from campus has let me to think about the fragility of our social environments. This poem, which grew from that apprehension, revolves around the impossible scenario of two figures escaping the places they reside in a painting to reach one another. Just like the figures in the poem, who have been painted somewhere they do not wish to be, many of us have suddenly been placed in a difficult situation. I hope that the poem helps the reader better understand their options and reflect more deeply on the uncertainties inherent in the process of forming connections with others, an uncertainty which can simultaneously be exhilarating and depressing.


Their freshly drawn eyes have been placed on opposite sides of the painting they inhabit, but their lines of sight happen to collide at a spot the painter's brush has left unsaturated: It is theirs to claim. And when they meet, they take care not to leave space between each other so as to occur at a single point, allowing their colors and silhouettes to merge where the distance between thought and expression ceases to restrain their dialogic interactions. And when they start telling each other their stories they forget everything, dislodging each other out of places they alone know but cannot recall together.

The spaces they abandoned to reach one another will remain empty.

gustavo necochea

No longer can they sing along to the sound of their footsteps approaching each other, for their wavering voices betray their estrangement from everything but the footprints they smudged on the ground.

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The Anniversary Gift

adrienne santiago

By Adrienne Santiago

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Being in a long distance relationship is difficult. Despite being physically apart, my past boyfriend and I were able to make this project together. When I last visited him in Mexico back in 2019, we took lots of videos, wrote the poem, and recorded ourselves reading the poem together. I think this video is symbolic of how much love and effort goes into overcoming the obstacles of being in a long distance relationship, and I treasure it very much. While we unfortunately parted ways after this video was submitted for this art show, I think this video is a beautiful documentation of a love that was so powerful and radiant. Thank you for everything, Moses.



Notice By V anna Tran

vanna tran

What if I uttered, “Who am I supposed to be if you do not feel me? What is the use in being seen and not taken?” To not make you out to be a relentless man Let you hear me say it, “The aperture of my very being insists on you.”

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To you, a thrill A trick sequestered in the sweetness “Beauty, come, just come with me Ruin is not waste when done threatrically, if not masterfully.”



Warm Eyes

angela guerra

By Angela Guerra

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My cat, cinnamon buns, was my best companion. I loved him so much. He always knew how to cheer me up. Whenever I felt sad or stressed, he would just look at me with the most heartwarming eyes and curl up in my lap. Other times he would roll on the floor acting silly. There was never a dull moment with him. He helped me get through the toughest times in my life and loved me unconditionally. Although he's no longer with me, the love he had for me continues to inspire and motivate me to stay determined on accomplishing my goals.



take hold of five igs tw By Peter Hoc Tran-Hoang

peter hoc tran-hoang

Inspired by a surrealist poem by my grandfather about love. Ending the poem he asks his beloved to take hold of a branch with five twigs. The cultural and poetic context of this statement is entirely lost on me but the image of love in my mind is very vivid.

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The Bath By Nguyen Sa

I undress Turn on the water Water flows from head to foot And feels so good Water from the heavans From the Yellow River From the clouds From the mountains From springs From rivers Reaches me


Reaches my hair My shoulders Reaches my back My belly Reaches the place down there The place you call the sun The place you call the love-beast The sun The sun Do you remember The beast Do you remember Remember, remember The water flows Are the finger-marks still Are the lip-marks still Do you remember How could you remember? I turn on the water The finger-marks The lip-marks Forget them The water flows in my brain and feels good The water flows in my heart and feels good In my lungs In my gut In my liver

Have you tried Have you let go Let go your eyes Let go your lips Let go your breasts Let go your feet Trembling shoulders or Belly white? In the morning In the evening In the night

Don't be upset, dear, please don't I pick up a dry branch I throw away the branch I pick up a fresh flower I pick up you I throw away you I pick up me I throw away me In the sea Where I have come Where I am come And throw it away Where else it to throw How to reach the sky How to reach the mountain Where is the Yellow River? Where is the Yellow River Is a water-drop like a water-drop Is joy like joy Is pain like pain Beyond it, it is Beside it, it is How do I know You want to know? You want to ask? You want to hate? You want to love? You want to meet? You want to forget? You want to return? You want to arrive? Here Take hold A dry branch With five twigs

peter hoc tran-hoang

My organs are floating My lungs are floating What floats not way Do you know Know for sure How would you know

In the morning In the evening In the night That morning, of course That night, of course That night we spent in the heavens That night we laughed on the mountain

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