Huntley Gallery exhibition emphasizes attention to detail

By Evelyn Garcia

Marvels, Mysteries & Miniatures, a new exhibition at the Don B. Huntley Gallery, invites visitors into small spaces of rich meaning, ranging from themes of culture to life and death.

Visitors were encouraged to delve into the worlds of several talented artists who translate similar themes in their work through different forms of media.

During the Oct. 1 reception, Michele Cairella-Fillmore, the director and curator of the University Art Galleries, conducted a talk to learn more about the artists and their inspirations.

Cindy Cronk’s miniature assemblages were first in view, showcasing the complexity that is her art form. From a very young age, Cronk was a collector of small objects and eventually discovered by putting some of these small, everyday things together, she could create miniature creatures that allowed her to express herself and the world around her.

The assemblages are made up of items found from nature that Cronk discovers and finds more meaning to than their previous purpose. Although the creatures and insects featured in her work are dead and reflect darkness, it is the pairing of this light and darkness that is compelling.

“[The theme is] removing death and bringing life back,” said Cronk. From finding and putting together the right objects – whether it is bugs, feathers, or pieces of metal- down to naming each of them all with fortune cookies collected over the years, Cronk’s work is unique and captivating.

Intimacy was a key element in the artist’s reasoning for working small.

“I could work larger, but there is an intimate quality that I really enjoy,” Cronk said.

Cairella-Fillmore further elaborated on the many works and why small is the perfect format for the messages being presented in Marvels, Mysteries & Miniatures.

“Because it’s small, you have to get up close, and when you get up close it really pulls you in and you’re shocked by what you see,” said Cairella-Fillmore.

This was the case with Marianela de la Hoz’s small paintings that explore issues such as love, darkness, death and religion. From afar, her pieces look like beautiful small paintings, but once up close, the dark undertones and more profound messages can be seen and felt.

According to de la Hoz, for as long as she can remember, everything she sees, reads and listens to is transformed into paintings and drawings. With a strict, religious upbringing, her Mexican heritage plays an integral role in her art, but the themes she conveys are universal.

“All of my work talks about duality, because I think that every human being has this dark side and I love to paint the dark side of human beings,” said de la Hoz.

Each painting lures you in to see underlying messages that make each piece even more profound, making the details most meaningful.

“I’m very interested in details because each detail makes the whole,” said de la Hoz. “Even if sometimes I feel like a speck of dust in this immense universe, at the same time I am an individual, and each individual is special, different, important.”

The third artist featured in the new exhibition, Jon Montich, also connects with and firmly believes in details with his photography.

“I believe in the horizon-less landscape,” said Montich. “In other words, get up close to what you’re shooting and get involved with it rather than sitting back, looking at the grand view of everything. It’s about paying attention to detail.”

As a photographer for many years, Montich stumbled upon an old cannery in the 90s that was eventually abandoned. It was then he decided to start shooting in the warehouse that was all rust and disrepair, something that Montich had always been drawn to.

As he visited the cannery on different occasions and captured it in its destruction, Montich knew in the back of his mind it could make a great series.

Many years later, he got the chance to do just that, using an old Polaroid process technology which gave a rusty sepia tone feel and better captured the theme.

From afar, Montich’s photographs look like old-fashioned stills of an old warehouse. Up close, however, one can see the eerie details of the cannery that once was, leaving the viewer to wonder what happened and what secrets lie within the abandoned building.

The themes and complex issues brought to light and dark by these three artists are relatable on a human level. This is something Cairella-Fillmore echoed.

“My thought is to bring art on the campus that makes people think,” said Cairella-Fillmore. “If you can walk away having thought something then the artist has done their job. I’ve done my job.”

Marvels, Mysteries & Miniatures is open through Dec. 8 in the Don B. Huntley Gallery.

Huntley Gallery

Zoran Liu-Moy / The Poly Post

Huntley Gallery

Tiny art fixtures in the Huntley Gallery

Zoran Liu-Moy / The Poly Post

Tiny art fixtures in the Huntley Gallery

Talk with the artists at the Huntley Gallery

Zoran Liu-Moy / The Poly Post

Talk with the artists at the Huntley Gallery

Miniature art pieces at the Huntley Gallery

Zoran Liu-Moy / The Poly Post

Miniature art pieces at the Huntley Gallery

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