Artists Guerra and Sue share their taboos through self expression

Anisha Brady

Every artist searches for a meaningful message to send out into the world. Joel Guerra and Helen Sue have found theirs and are ready to spread it.

“Taboo” is the BMU’s newest gallery exhibit, created and curated by Chico State seniors Joel Guerra and Helen Sue. The compilation of both Guerra and Sue’s work portrays their personal and most hidden taboos.

“Personal taboos are things that we may not have been able to fully express because of societal pressures,” said Guerra. “It’s about our convictions, our senses of spirit and moralities.”

Walking around the gallery, it became blatant that the pieces from both artists expressed very personal, dark thoughts and life experiences.

Sue’s first work stood out with its 3D presentation and alluring composition. A medicine cabinet is splintered and filled to the brim with scraps of paper and doodles. Though the display was abstract, Sue’s concept was clever and well thought out.

“Every time I thought of my mom, I would doodle. It was a method to signify that this thought was present. It was therapeutic to make the thought physical,” said Sue.

This theme of coping is strongly present throughout her works. Her following piece of art is symbolic of this theme, standing as a more direct representation of past pain.

She created screen prints of childhood photos in which she is pictured alone. In some of the photos, she drew in outlines of figures posing alongside her as a way to emphasize a lack of parental roles. Her art is predominantly displayed in a nostalgic and emotionally evoking way.

On the opposite wall stands Guerra’s enigmatic collection depicting “the darkest corners of his mind.” His art is often a whimsical, puzzle-like mirage of stark contrasts and hidden contexts. One has to look deeply into any of these photos to point out the creepy creatures and faces floating around in the array of vine-like lines that branch out from the edges of each piece.

“Creature in My Head” is one among the collection that is most emblematic of his style. Inspired by a nightmare, Guerra took to his drawing board to physically manifest these abstract fears that were prominent in his mind. The piece is supposed to look similar to that of a Rorschach test, enticing the viewer to see what they want to see; defining it as they are.

What is so stunning about Guerra’s art is that he constructed it solely using Adobe Illustrator.

“I wanted to infuriate the traditional art community that bastardizes the idea that a fine art piece could be created with a computer,” said Guerra.

Besides the actual art, there is a lot to appreciate in the long and tedious process of his self-expression. Come contemplate and appreciate these unique bodies and mediums of art at our very own campus.

The exhibit can be found on the 3rd floor of the BMU and will continue to until December 18. The exhibit will be open Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on weekends, hours vary.

[masterslider id=”26″]

Anisha Brady can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_arts on Twitter.