2013-03-14 / On the Town

Artists ‘man up’ for exhibit

By Stephanie Sumell


TWIN IMAGE—Artist Laura Long, left, laughs with her friend and Cal Lutheran student Andrew deGoede as they take in a pastel portrait of Andrew entitled “Handsome Young Man with a Beard” by artist Aihua Zhou on exhibit in “The Man Show” going on now at CLU. 
IRIS SMOOT/Acorn Newspapers TWIN IMAGE—Artist Laura Long, left, laughs with her friend and Cal Lutheran student Andrew deGoede as they take in a pastel portrait of Andrew entitled “Handsome Young Man with a Beard” by artist Aihua Zhou on exhibit in “The Man Show” going on now at CLU. IRIS SMOOT/Acorn Newspapers California Lutheran University’s latest art exhibit has some patrons singing “Hallelujah.”

That’s because, in the words of 1980s pop duo The Weather Girls, “it’s raining men.”

Last Saturday, the university hosted the opening of “The Man Show,” a monthlong exhibit in its Kwan Fong Gallery of Art and Culture dedicated to the modern male.

Michael Pearce, the university’s art chair and gallery curator, said he came up with the idea after organizing a 2011 Fong Gallery exhibition called “The New Romantic Figure.”

The show included many images of women but only two paintings with men as the subject.


FINE TIME—Artists featured in “The Man Show” at California Lutheran University’s Kwan Fong Gallery of Art and Culture gather for a group photo at the show’s opening on Saturday. 
IRIS SMOOT/Acorn Newspapers FINE TIME—Artists featured in “The Man Show” at California Lutheran University’s Kwan Fong Gallery of Art and Culture gather for a group photo at the show’s opening on Saturday. IRIS SMOOT/Acorn Newspapers “It got me scratching my head,” Pearce said. “So I asked artists to create work that dealt with the topic of men. I asked, ‘What are men like now in the 21st century?’”

His question resulted in a wide array of work representing 13 artists, including drawings, paintings and a single sculpture.

“(The artists) are top-drawer,” said Pearce, who has three paintings in the show. “We’re honored to have them show their work here.”

Steven DaLuz of San Antonio submitted a drawing called “Searching.”

The black-and-white charcoal drawing features a heavily tattooed, shirtless man with his back to the viewer.

“The tattoos clearly place him in this time in history,” DaLuz said. “What men do you know between 18 and 30 that do not have a tattoo? It really says something about our times.”

But despite his sometimes hard exterior, DaLuz said, the modern man is vulnerable.

“A lot of young men get mixed signals these days,” he said. “Don’t be macho. Don’t be a wimp . . . traditional roles are discombobulated because of our media-driven culture.”

Tony Pro, an art professor at CLU, submitted a painting called “Comico Divino.”

It features a modern-day actor portraying Dante Alighieri, a major Italian poet of the Middle Ages best known for his “Divine Comedy.”

The man is set against an inferno like background: Florence’s river engulfed in flames.

Pro said the exhibit’s premise is original.

“When we have representational art shows, most of the paintings are usually women. Women typically sell better,” he said.

Still, the opening of the malecentric show drew a crowd of more than 60.

Among the attendees was Meghan Parker, assistant director of California Arts Institute, a private art school in Thousand Oaks.

“There are a lot of really good artists here,” she said. “I know a number of the artists in the show and came to support the local art scene.”

Also at the opening was Ventura artist Khosro Esmaeili, who called the show “inspiring.”

“I like to see the work of other artists,” he said. “Sometimes, it confronts you with something you hadn’t really thought about.”

One of the featured artists, Michael Lynn Adams, teaches beginning drawing classes at CLU.

“I encourage my students to come to this show so they can meet the people in flesh and blood who actually make this work,” Adams said.

Brittany McGinley, a 21-yearold senior at CLU, took pictures at the show. “It’s great to bring all this to CLU,” said the art major. “Here, students can walk by every day and see all this art going on.”

Rubbing elbows with professional artists has strengthened her desire to pursue a career in art, McGinley said.

The Man Show will run until Mon., April 18. The Kwan Fong Gallery of Art and Culture is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.callutheran.edu/kwan_ fong

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