Artist: Elmer Guevara, Robert Nehemiah

Exhibition: Immaterial

Media: Canvas, cardboard, wood, oil paint (mixed media)

Gallery: CSULB School of Art, SOA Courtyard, Gatov West Gallery

Instagram: Robert: @wookieewarrior  Elmer: @3lmski1

About the Artist

Artists Elmer and Robert are undergraduate students at CSULB attempting to earn their BFA in figurative Drawing and Painting. Elmer studied at ELAC before transferring to CSULB, while Robert studied at Rio de Honda. Elmer described himself as more contemporary, focusing on fragmentive art, while Robert said he was more into traditional painting. When Elmer and Robert met, they found they had similarities in their works and decided to use their skills and collaborate for the exhibit.

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Formal Analysis

The artists chose to paint their works on both traditional canvases and non traditional surfaces. Some of Robert’s works were painted on cardboard and wood, and Elmer created a large Pink Panther on a cloth draped on a fence. I was amazed by the texture and detail in their works.There are clumped up balls of paint that might look messy when seen up close, but when you view the painting in its entirety, it becomes what gives the piece meaning. I also noticed they both used mainly dark colors to show their message. In the literal sense, they were painting of real life people, but the way Elmer and Robert used their skill shows a glimpse of both the artist’s and the subject’s personality.

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Content Analysis

Robert’s inspiration came from people he saw around his area. He asked people on the street if they would allow him to capture a photo so he could paint a portrait based of it.As he took pictures, he would talk to his subjects to get a feel of their personality and he would then try to convey that into his painting. Elmer grew up around downtown L.A., which shows in their artwork, and was inspired by his cousins’ street art. They designed their work on surfaces that broke away from materialism, like scraps of cardboard instead of new canvases. Their thoughts behind this was the ability to create art on material that would not last, saying “People are as temporary as the material they are painted on”. Robert said this about a painting of his grandmother that he chose to place on cardboard. He found a correlation with the longevity of the painting and his grandma’s age.

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My Experience

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This exhibit really drew to my attention because it was recognizable. A quick glance as I passed the doorway was enough to catch my interest, and upon walking in I knew why. The street signs painted in the pieces were instantly recognizable as the very ones I’ve seen countless times on bus and metro line rides through the city of LA. The title”Immaterial” fit perfectly with their works, in my opinion, and I’m interested to know what Robert and Elmer will think of their works as they slowly begin to deteriorate, since the cardboard surface is not meant to last.

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