"Temporary Flowers" by Anthony Acock (2022). (Photo courtesy of Alexander Novoa)

The Triennial Art Department Faculty Show returns

By Kristine Pascual, Feb. 28, 2023

Every three years, the W. Keith and Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery at Cal Poly Pomona hosts the Triennial Art DepartmentFaculty Show. With 17 artists participating in the gallery, viewers are left with a plethora of art styles to indulge in.

The artwork in the gallery comes in a variety of mediums such as sculpture, neon and paintings to name a few. Each piece harbors its own meaning and is further explained in the artist’s statement beside the artwork. Michele Cairella Fillmore, curator for the Huntley art gallery and curator of the exhibit, took time to pick pieces and arrange them in a way that makes the viewer feel something.

“We want to highlight the art department gallery, give them an opportunity to show their work so that they can show everybody what they’re doing,” Fillmore said. “But it’s also a teaching opportunity for their students in their classes.”

Displayed on the left side of the room, one of the larger pieces, “Temporary Flowers” is a vibrant mural painted by associate professor of graphic design Anthony Acock.

“Temporary Flowers” by Anthony Acock (2022). (Photo courtesy of Alexander Novoa)

“The girl whose kind of like a recurring theme in a lot of my large-scale paintings, she’s kind of a leftover trope from when I did graffiti. There’s no conceptual value there, it’s just something I’ve painted repeatedly,” Acock said.

When asked about success as an artist, each artist held different, yet interesting views as to what success is and what it means to them. Some of the artists find success in finishing their work while others did not care for it.

“Did I achieve what I set out to achieve? The thing is you do it or you don’t,” lecturer for the College of Environmental design Khara Cloutier said.

Acock defined success as, “Being able to constantly create work and discard work, that’s successful to me. It becomes a mental health act, it’s meditative, it’s qualitative, you’re creating work constantly. You’re successful if you have that position of privilege where you can get away with that. I’m very lucky that I’m able to just create work.”

“Roberta” by Gina Lawson Egan (Underdogs and Overlords series 2019). (Photo courtesy of Alexander Novoa)

Fillmore explained the different themes present in the gallery such as nature and pop culture. There are also several pieces in the gallery that represent the struggle of the Asian American experience. College of Environmental Design assistant professor JianLee described her painting, “The Invisible,” as being inspired by the anger felt when seeing the way that Asian people are depicted in the media.

“I was inspired by the challenges that a lot of Asian American people are facing since COVID with all the violence and things happening around us. I’ve been going to Stop Asian Hate rallies with my family and it’s a very shocking experience for me,” Lee said.

Additionally, lecturer for the College of Environmental design Ann Phong relays her story as an Asian American, being animmigrant and refugee that fled from Vietnam. Through her work, she represents the struggles that Asian American women have faced and continue to face while also raising awareness of the human capacity to destroy nature.

“When we throw things away, like those things don’t disappear on Earth, that concerns me. We might die, but the plastic will stay on Earth, and we damage the environment, so I use that in my paintings,” Phong said.

Her most recent piece, “Your Food Order Is Delivered” can be seen in the gallery and features used items that she repurposed for her artwork such as masks that she has collected from her home.

“Here in the gallery, we don’t talk about technology. We talk about the artistic part. When you go to the gallery, it’s a completely different feeling, suddenly it brings you back to nature. We need to learn how to enjoy life, how to fulfill our lives with the nature around us. That’s the beauty of the gallery to me,” Phong said.

Feature image courtesy of Alexander Novoa

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