‘Standout pieces’: Irvine Fine Arts Center hosts return of ‘All Media’ exhibit
Each year, the Irvine Fine Arts Center hosts “All Media 2022,” an annual eclectic show that showcases a multitude of techniques and media.
“One of the things that is really exciting to me about ‘All Media’ is it gives us an opportunity to highlight many more artists than we usually would,” said Virginia Arce, exhibitions program coordinator at Irvine Fine Arts Center.
This year’s exhibition, which opened July 9 and runs through Oct. 8, features 56 local and regional artists and includes painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, fiber, video and mixed media. This year’s guest juror is Joseph Daniel Valencia.
“I also think that one of the really exciting things about the show is the guest juror,” Arce said. “I kind of consider them tastemakers. [Joseph] is the associate curator at the Vincent Price Art Museum [at East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park], which I think is one of the most exciting institutions,” Arce said.
This is Arce’s second year selecting the guest juror for “All Media.” In selecting Valencia, Arce said she continues her dedication to bring in young curators she views as up and coming. The guest juror also is tasked with choosing three outstanding artworks and three honorable mentions.
“The guest juror gets to decide the award recipients. For this year, Joseph chose Michael Lopez’s photograph called ‘Lady Persephone’ as our first-place winner.”
The model in the photo is a friend of the photographer, and Arce notes their connection is apparent in the work.
“I think that shows because she looks like she is at ease and you can just tell that there is a really great relationship between the subject and the photographer,” Arce said. “She looks ethereal.”
“All Media” is Irvine Fine Art Center’s largest show of the year in terms of artists, and Arce said it offers the center the opportunity to find new artists for future shows.
“For me, it kind of works like an index of artists because you can see the applications coming in, and it is just really cool to have that as another way to be exposed to artists we might not hear about,” said Arce.
Irvine Fine Arts Center’s upcoming exhibitions will feature three artists who were previous “All Media” participants or applicants.
While the show doesn’t necessarily have a theme, Arce notes that often threads of connection can be traced through unrelated pieces, in either messaging or medium.
“Usually there is no theme other than it is all different media,” Arce said. “But there are associations between the artworks.”
The small gallery off to the right of the main room, for example, features works that demonstrate social commentary.
“This almost feels like an exhibition unto itself,” she said. “There are some really standout pieces.”
A mixed-media piece by Alkaid Ramirez, who had an exhibition at the center earlier this year, titled “R&S Family Tree,” shows how a family business takes root in the family, brings them together and in some instances, ties them down.
“He has a lot of interesting things to say about how the business has given his family support, but it also never ends, you never kind of clock in and out,” Arce said.
Another area of the show groups works with themes of landscape and nature, along with two photographs by Lua Kobayashi, showing her grandmother’s belongings titled, “Where a Forest Once Grew: Her Wallet” and “Where a Forest Once Grew: Her Lipstick.”
Among the most moving works is an archival inkjet print by Gabriel Ernesto Gonzalez, titled “The Chumps” that depicts a plate of French fries and a sandwich set before an urn with the artist’s brother‘s ashes and his photograph on the wall. Gonzalez’s statement describes the work as an offering made to his brother, Joel Gonzalez, who died on March 9, 2021 from COVID-19.
The show is powerful, broad-ranging and above all, thoughtful.
“I think Joseph did a really tremendous job of selecting works that have a really strong point of view but aren’t all very overt about it,” said Arce.
Irvine Fine Arts Center is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on Sundays. “All Media” runs until Oct. 8.
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