Artist: Josh Vasquez
Media: Drawing and Painting
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
Josh Vasquez is an undergraduate student in the BFA Painting and Drawing Program at the CSULB School of Art. He’s a Los Angeles native who’s been doing art his whole life. Another media that he enjoys is photography. When asked about what specifically he liked taking pictures of, he said that he likes capturing the moment. He’s interested in the tension between life and death and his artwork explores that concept. This gallery took him about half a year to complete.
His artwork varied from portraits which had some translucency and a physical piece that was spread on the ground, the roses. They depicted different images that were reminiscent of life and death, mostly death though. He used a clear canvas with dark colors, mostly black with some white and grey. These looked like they had a smooth texture. The only place that had any semblance of color, were the laid out dried flowers on the floor in the center of the room. The flowers were all dried out and “dead” and had very few petals left, some didn’t even have any. Their texture was more rough and, obviously were 3-dimensional, which gave it a different feel. There were pieces with may curves and pieces that looked like they had a subtle skull image; one had a more definite skull image. The lines could be described as undulating and sinuous.
His art is about the tension between life and death and the coexistence of black and white. While working on his art, he’s in a reflective, meditative mental state since his art work requires a lot of concentration. He releases his frustration into his work, making his strokes less defined and more uneven. His style includes using two varied techniques that can be considered to mirror and represent the differences of like “life” and “death”. In these works presented at the showcase, he’ll do charcoal vs spray paint, black vs white, and canvas vs glass. These coexist by having a natural flow in the work, but are obviously different techniques.
I really appreciated the aesthetic of this gallery, the artwork and the mood of the room. I feel like he expressed himself clearly, where you really don’t have to look too deep for a meaning and looking deeper adds more significance; there’s really no end to how his work can analyzed. I absolutely loved the dried flowers on the floor and I asked him where he had gotten the flowers, to which he replied that he had gotten them from the trash or as waste, which I really appreciated. I personally, don’t dwell too much on the idea of life versus death but I feel like his work was a perfect visualization of the tension between both.