About the Artist
This is Yeri Hwang’s last semester here at CSULB. She is working toward a BA degree in studio art with an emphasis on illustration and animation. She works with all sorts of media, but one thing that stands out about her work is its interactive nature and its moving parts. Her art is very touch oriented and creates a special connection between the art and the viewer. Besides the art represented in this exhibition which is mainly kinetic sculpture pieces, she also creates illustrations of characters and focuses a lot on animation. She is still trying to find her voice, so her art is definitely not limited to what is seen in this exhibition.
All of her pieces in this exhibition were interactive. This mostly meant that the viewer would touch a button or move a part, but it sometimes meant writing something personal and adding it to the art piece. One of her first pieces was a clay and latex cast of a baby where we were invited to write down our name and its meaning. The rest of the pieces we were invited to touch a moving part to interact with the piece. She had a piece where you could turn the gears in order to change the multi-colored lighting in the shape of a silhouette on the wall. Another one of her pieces just involved placing your hands on a shining sword in order to feel like you have completed a quest. Some of her pieces involve electricity and wiring, which she learned from classes she has taken on campus.
Hwang created her exhibition to go along with all of the common motifs that are found in a narrative. She wanted the viewer to go along on a journey that would tell their own story in junction with what she had created. The interaction between her pieces and the viewer was a unique experience and one that is supposed to be personal to each individual. Each piece was a different plot point in a story. Her first pieces represented birth and creation. Her middle pieces represented life and its conflicts. Her end piece demands the most attention and this she meant to represent a resolution, it is a shrine for acceptance and forgiveness. She created the whole showcase in about two weeks. She felt rushed with her project and she did not have a concrete idea of what she wanted until the last minute. The show really did come together though because of its interactive nature. Whatever she feels is lacking is finished by the viewer who becomes a participant in her art.
Synthesis / My Experience
Her exhibition was so unique in that I have never been to an art gallery where I could actually add my own experience to the art. Her set up reminded me of Joseph Campbell’s idea of the monomyth or “the hero’s journey”. This idea is that one myth (the same plot devices) can fit every story we see. She wanted us to imagine heroes and a large journey, and going through her gallery reminded me of going through the different steps of the monomyth. She had the beginning of the story with a copy of “The Creation of Adam” which can be compared to the beginning of any story. Then we walked through the different plot points and conflict areas until the resolution, which in the case of her exhibition, was a shrine where we were invited to write down what we wanted to forgive about ourselves. The whole exhibition was refreshing and I think at the end very comforting. It is very rarely that we are able to see true resolutions to our own stories, and self-forgiveness is definitely something we can all use more of.