Artist: Nathaniel Paderanga
Media: Oil Paint on Canvas
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Merlino Gallery
Art wasn’t Paderanga’s first choice as a major. Transferring from San Diego to CSULB, he changed his major from Kinesiology. This semester, he will officially be graduating with a BFA in Drawing and Painting. He has many interests and plans after his last semester, such as becoming an art teacher and/or going to grad school. For now, he will be working back home in San Diego.
The ideas behind the exhibit were developed after the death of his mother last year.
Social is about social issues that Paderanga wanted to shed light to, in addition to details about his personal life. From our society’s obsession with technology to homelessness, he uses painting as a platform to address such issues. His realistic and literal interpretation of each subject lets the audience see each piece for what they really are. The details of each painting are undeniably vivid; each one tells a story of his life and the world around him.
In the first painting 2nd Street and Corona, Paderanga confronts the problem of homelessness. We see it everyday yet choose to ignore it. The piece exhibits a vibrant urban scene that you almost miss the subject of the painting: the homeless person. The second painting Get Together is an example of our generation’s heavy dependence on technology. Paderanga shows the audience what “hanging out” means nowadays. The other paintings in the gallery are excerpts of the his life. From portraits of his family members to illustrations of a family birthday celebration and his childhood home, reminiscence becomes a subject of his exhibit.
I caught a glimpse of the paintings from outside the gallery and they immediately caught my attention. At first, the lifelike style almost made me believe that the paintings were photographed. The Fisherman piece was inspired by the fishermen on the Huntington Beach pier. It’s one of my favorites from the gallery because it made me remember that one incredibly windy day when me and a friend decided to just observe the fishermen at the same pier for almost an hour, jokingly narrating what could possibly be going through their minds. Paderanga decided to use them as a subject because it’s easy to forget that individuals like them have lives and stories of their own. The theme of Social is simple yet gives us a glimpse of the artist’s character. The significance of family is illustrated along with contemporary issues that we see everyday.