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Exhibit allows students to interpret subtle art pieces

Emma Wood-Wright

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University Art Gallery curator, Cameron Kelly, is in charge of assembling the work of photographer Joshua Martinez for the exhibit “Immersion Studies.” Photo credit: Chelsea Jeffers

Clinging to a crevice in a cliff, a rock climber is immersed in adventure. The fog is so thick, all he sees is white.

And at first glance, that’s what the viewer of the current University Art Gallery exhibit might see too.

Bay Area photographer Joshua Martinez has developed photographs that aim to capture moments like these. His exhibit “Immersion Studies” will be open until Oct. 24 at the gallery.

“It’s a demanding body of work,” said Cameron Kelly, the University Art Gallery curator. “You can’t just walk by and get it.”

Although some of Martinez’s featured pieces may just look like framed pieces of white paper, when looking close enough, the viewer will begin to notice the subtle gradation that captures the texture of fog.

“Although his subject matter seems subtle and minimal, it encourages students to slow down and really try to read the images,” Kelly said.

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In the University Art Gallery, photographer Joshua Martinez portrays his idea of dreams and memory through these gelatin silver prints called ‘Immersion Landscape (Diptych).’ Photo credit: Chelsea Jeffers

 

Looking at an ocean landscape compared to actually diving in the ocean and being absorbed by the surroundings, such as the cold water, the salty taste and the crashing waves, is completely different, Kelly said. And this is what Martinez conveys in his photographs.

“I suppose you could say that they are all from adventures of mine, in that to make them, I had to trek into the wilderness a little way,” Martinez said.

Martinez uses film, develops in a dark room and uses burning and dodging techniques to manipulate the photos to create his desired effect.

“This is a very old school way of working,” Kelly said.

When looking at his work, it helps to think of Martinez’s background in rock climbing, he said.

“He offers the distance one might feel when trying to relate to that experience,” she said.

Martinez requested that the titles not be hung on the walls with the work so it would be open to interpretation for the viewer.

 

“I feel like there’s a lot of room for interpretation through the different technical choices the artist has made,” said Sam Rivera, a senior art studio major.

About the gallery

The University Art Gallery is currently in an interim space; it was in Taylor Hall and was moved to Trinity Hall in spring 2013. The gallery will return to Taylor Hall once construction on the new building is complete.

Every year, three artists are invited to the gallery in order to enrich the lives of students on campus. This has been done for at least the past two decades.

Aside from these three artists, the space is always reserved for student exhibits, particularly graduate students and Master of Fine Arts students.

“The whole purpose is to round out student’s education,” Kelly said.

The University Art Gallery is independent from the Janet Turner Print Gallery and not married to a collection, Kelly said. It has its own collection of 100-200 artworks and sculptures.

A lot of the collection is donated work from MFA students. There used to be a policy for MFA students to donate that no longer exists. The gallery also loans pieces from its collection to places on campus.

Emma Wood-Wright can be reached at [email protected] or @emmawoodwright on Twitter.

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Exhibit allows students to interpret subtle art pieces