The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

How backgrounds influence art

“Roman Series,” Loli Kanto.
“Roman Series,” Loli Kanto.

CAMERON WEBSTER
campus editor
cameron.webster@my.tccd.edu

The concept of self-image and personal identity are being explored through artwork on display at SE Campus.

Seven local artists created work for the Portraiture: Image and Identity art exhibition using photography and paint. Their work reflects the importance of identity within a modern society.

The idea for the gallery came to life when SE instructional assistant of fine arts Penelope Bisbee and photographer Leah Gose — friends since graduate school — got the idea to combine their artistic backgrounds into an exhibition.

During their brainstorming, they decided it made the most sense to focus on finding and featuring local artists that use the desired mediums.  

“Intentionally wanting to focus on local and regional artists, I think it’s really important for students to see artists today working locally that they go ‘Oh, this person lives right here,’ versus, this is a picture in a book of someone who made something that lives in Paris or New York,” Gose said.

The artwork featured varies from digital photographs that tell stories of the meaning of identity to paintings designed to question social groups. Some of the artists even inserted their personal life experiences directly into their creations.  

Arthur Fields is one of the artists who contributed to the gallery. He created a series of digital imagery titled “Technically Connected,” which depicts individuals using early-stage social media on their smart devices. He described his work as nostalgic.

“[It’s] a glimpse of self-representation during the early years of social media,” Fields said. “I would want people to look carefully at the images and see what each subject is revealing about themselves. Social-economic status, family life, age, technology skill or level, etc.”

Fields hopes anyone who views his art can see how people choose to represent themselves.

He said that whether it is good or bad, image is everything, and people need to think about how they present to the world.

Fellow artist Lupita Murillo Tinnen chose to put a more personal touch on her series of images titled “Immigrant Laborers.”

Her creation features portraits of North Texas immigrant laborers dressed in clothing of their choosing, rather than their work outfits.

Tinnen combined her portraits with text, graphics and historical images of other workers to help shape the narratives of the portrayed. She even featured her father, Carlos.

“I have a unique experience as an insider who comes from a working-class family of Mexican immigrants,” Tinnen said. “The occupations I chose to represent include those most commonly discussed in regards to low-skilled immigrant labor.”

She said she wants people who see her work to view immigrant laborers positively.

Angilee Wilkerson used self-portraiture in her series titled “Perform La Femme,” where she, along with her artistic partner Jana C. Perez, emphasize their lives as women.

The two women portray themselves in different scenarios and different roles, mixing symbolism and metaphor to create a complex visual narrative.

According to Wilkerson’s artist statement, the piece deconstructs cultural ideals and empowers experiential knowledge of female identity within a predominantly patriarchal society.

“When we stepped back and looked, we were like, yeah, figurative and portraiture, but this really unpacks that broader conversation about identity,” Gose said. “Whether its sexual identity, gender, politics, psychological identity, everything.”

She said their simple idea has turned into something that can be incredibly impactful for many different communities and groups of people.

The gallery will be open every day, except Sunday, until May 6, with visiting hours between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.

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