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Spring Exhibitions At The USC Fisher Museum Of Art

Gloria Moon |
February 26, 2011 | 11:33 a.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Photo courtesy of Fisher Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of Fisher Museum of Art

Wondering what to do this weekend? Come experience the artistry on display at the USC Fisher Museum of Art.

The Fisher Museum of Art is located at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. It is part of the Exposition Park Museums located directly across from the California Science Center. 

Fisher Museum of Art is a beautiful gallery founded in 1939 that hosts many exhibits, not limited to the student body of USC. It welcomes everyone, and the admission is always free. Fisher museum holds a wide arrangement of art in various forms and styles, some of which are part of their impressive permanent collection. Some artworks that are exhibited at Fisher are borrowed from collections of other museums and private galleries.

This Spring, Fisher is to hold three exhibitions-- John Nava’s:  "The Making of the Trojan Family Tapestry," "The Portraits of Sylvia Shap: Explorations and Revelations" and JS Carson’s "The Weight of Ordinary Things."

John Nava is a renowned artist commissioned by the University of Southern California to create a tapestry in commemoration for the grand opening of the Ronald Tutor Center on campus. Many might recognize Nava’s works from his previous pieces on display at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. This exhibit is holds homage to Nava’s creative process in completing the "Trojan Family Tapestry," and the methods that were considered in the making. His process shows the intricacy of the tapestry through use of photographs painted with oil on panels, and further transferring these images onto tapestry. 

Also available for view are historical references that Nava used (courtesy of Doheny Library) in creating the background for the Tapestry. The artist envisioned the background to reflect a field of knowledge. His fine detailing is evident in his artwork as he takes careful measures to include the letters "USC" in the mesh of cardinal and gold. Binary codes and excerpts from the Koran fills the background, contributing to the world of academia that the piece was commissioned for.

Large-scale test pieces are also on display to show his approach in finding the perfect color, balance and technique. It covers an entire wall--which surprisingly, is not nearly as big as the final piece that is hung at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center. The artist was said to have been inspired by actual USC students, faculty and staff after having attended a USC Football Game. The tapestry is a reaction of his experience with the campus, students, and the strong bond of the Trojan Family. 

"The Portraits of Sylvia Shap: Explorations and Revelations" transitions gracefully from John Nava’s exhibit by offering many beautiful portraiture of subjects who range from family members, art patrons, and even individuals she’s had a single encounter with. She also has various portraitures of the same figure throughout different stages in life all depicted in her signature solid colored backdrop.

The actual colors of the backdrops are unique for each of the portraits, for it is based on the subject’s aura and personality that she chooses a color most appropriate for the piece. The artist intended to place the subject alone on a solid color frame to avoid distractions that may detract to viewer from experiencing the subject’s stance, figure and emotions. Her fine attention to detailing, much like John Nava’s, must be commended and noted for. 

The last of the three exhibits, "The Weight of Ordinary Things," is JS Carson’s first museum presentation. Carson’s works are mainly photography-based mixed media in form of a collage. His artistic style is much similar to that of Rauschenberg’s as he uses print on photography and 3-D objects from various materials to achieve a collage-like look. 

Carson uses various mediums like sheets of acetate to create an organic feel with much depth. He takes pride in using materials from the simplest of objects that are inspired from his life in Los Angeles. He takes the most ordinary of objects and transforms them into an artistic creation that is definitely worth taking a look. 

These exhibits offer an interesting take on art and the use of mediums with respect to the artists’ individual styles. The shows seem to complement each other by using the theme of art as a process. The end result, which is what we usually see, is not the sole purpose of art. The process the artists take, as well as the materials and styles they use, contribute to a deeper understanding and respect of the final product. 

The exhibitions will not be at Fisher Museum for too long. The first two exhibitions by John Nava and Sylvia Shap will be on display until April 9, but JS Carson’s is soon leaving Fisher on March 5, so be sure to visit and experience the art for yourself. 

Reach reporter Gloria here.



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