Artists: Dalia Banuelos & Daniel Bonilla-Vera
Media: Photography, Yarn, Apparel
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Merlino Gallery
Instagram: Dalia: @deliaeffect, Daniel: @dbvqp
Website: Daniel: www.dbvphotography.com
After her second rejection from the BFA photography program, Banuelos responded in the best way possible. She spoke to several Studio Art undergrads she knew were also rejected from the program and asked if any of them wanted to collaborate on her idea, but only Bonilla-Vera was all for it.
Banuelos is a senior who has always had an interest in photography and likes to photograph almost anything. For Bonilla-Vera, a high school photography class piqued his interest in the art. Eventually, he fell in love with it.
Presentation of the photographs is particularly unique. One string is placed all over the gallery starting on the walls, then forming a giant web in the back that makes its way on the opposite wall in the trash can near the entrance. The photos are displayed either on the wall and framed by the yarn, or clipped on the web of string. The color palette of most of the photos consists of neutral colors such as black and white. Beneath the web of string are two figures in hoodies: one kneeling with its face on its knees and one lying on its side facing the corner. One photo on the wall is not in its frame like others and another photo is only half on the frame. Some photos are “thrown away” in the trashcan near the entrance of the gallery.
The exhibit showcases all rejected work. Banuelos describes it as an alternative method to display photography, an infraction. A rule of having a photography exhibition is that the photos must be framed and placed neatly. Instead, the exhibit defies against that idea and showcases a rebellious, yet honest response to rejection. The string represents fragility; if one piece were to get caught, everything will get ruined. Banuelos and Bonilla-Vera photographed a variety of objects that have rough surfaces and white backgrounds with what appears to be abstract ink patterns. The photographs themselves, along with the string display and sculptures, emanate frustration and anxiety.
The exhibit is a genius response to personal struggle and has the ability to resonate with a wide range of audience. The concept of failure is an easily relatable topic and the artists did a wonderful job of communicating personal thoughts and emotions. Instead of giving up and letting the frustration consume them, Banuelos and Bonilla-Vera stood up and refused to believe that their work isn’t worth being admitted to a program, or shared. They stood up to the idea of normalcy and conformity, collaborated on creativity and produced an amazing exhibition. Like everyone else, failure is a part of my life. A recent discovery taught me that criticism isn’t easy for me to accept and failure can be difficult to move on from. As cheesy as it sounds, failure can either make or break you. Experiencing the exhibit helped me understand that you’ll always have the choice and after failure, you can either sulk about it or you can move on and figure out your next move.