Artist: Yeri Hwang
Exhibition: Within Us
Media: Wood, Acrylic, Plaster, Latex, Electronic, Fog Machine, Mirror
Gallery: CSULB College of Art, SOA Max L. Gatov
About the Artist
Yeri Hwang is an undergraduate senior who is soon graduating with her major in Studio Art at California State University Long Beach. Addition to this, she likes to write stories and playing video games. She has had a huge interest in art and craft since she was very young and her background in illustration proves that. It was in high school she started to draw and developed skills from there on. One of the possible theories on why she is so artistic is maybe because of her siblings. Her older sister is into music and her other sisters are very crafty, all a fan of the art. Yeri wants to go to grad school in either illustration or video games. Her biggest inspiration in is Alphonse Mucha and in studio art her professors here at CSULB.
Within Us is an exhibition consisting of different pieces of art such as a mini model of the Creation of Adam, a blinking sword, overlays of colors, a miniature house and an altar. What’s so different and unique with this exhibition is that all these pieces of art are moving in some way. The audience also has a part in the exhibition by turning lights and movements on and off. There isn’t that easy to connect all these pieces, but what they have in common is a spiritual purpose. They all tell different stories and historical meanings. Each piece has a note next to it where a one-word of spiritual meaning is placed next to the description of the thought behind it. On the last sentence on the note, it tells you what you can do to participate in this piece (turning the lights off/on, what to touch). Every piece of art is made from the ground by herself. She glued, cut and constructed the pieces together so that we can interpret in her art.
For example, the word for the altar is “Acceptance & Forgiveness” which is related to what you do at an altar. Underneath it’s a text about forgiveness and question for us to wander about. The second note continues the story of the first and then tell you the instructions of what you can do to “clean your soul”.
Another example is this color wheel with the title “Progression”. It continues with stating that the world is looking forward to your journey and instructions to switch the lights where you wish to be (you can spin the wheels and change the order of the colors). This is another example of something spiritual and two-parted that we can participate in.
There are many hidden messages that can be related to this exhibition. God, self-awareness, forgiveness and exploration are just a few of the theme that you can say that this exhibition has. Hwang explains that much of her inspiration about this was that she was able to find peace when she made it. She hopes that other people are able to find peace within her art as well. When she further explains the reason behind a two-part participation between the artist and the audience, she states that art is often very limited and by this, she expands its limits. She thinks that art should be for everyone and when people interact in her art, they get to tell their stories as well. For example, the altar is a journey itself from how she made it. She had many feelings streaming through her body when she made that because she has been through a lot and this piece reflects some of that.
Here is a photo of me interacting with her art by holding the sword. When no one is touching it, it’s still a sword – stuck in a rock, but when the audience touches it, it brightens up like it’s newborn. The note next to the sword says “Choice and Commitment” because it reflects the choices we stand upon every day and how hard it is to make the right choice sometimes. The sword symbolizes having faith and going for it (touching the sword so it brightens up) because once you do, you can conquer the world.
The most interesting aspect of this exhibition for me was the fact that the audience could also participate, which made us feel special or a part of something. I also find the spiritual theme itself fascinating because our lives are very much about forgiveness. Art is a way to express yourself whether that is true anger, sadness or happiness. Forgiveness is something between what once were anger but not is happiness. We learn to move on with our life, have faith in we believe in and focus on what’s important.
Sometimes when I’m alone or upset I seek to the art. Art is a way of escapism and that’s what I felt with this exhibition too. It moved me because of the realness and emotional input of our perspective. The art didn’t speak for us, but let us find out how to speak to it. None of the art told me rights or wrong, but it made me realize what I felt was right and wrong. I really enjoyed this exhibition as one of my favorite ones because of the participation I could contribute with. As soon as we get to participate too, it changes what we feel and the connection with the art. Without any connection, art is just the concrete answer on what we see or touch.