This week, I had the opportunity to visit the Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery. I explored the exhibit titled “Infraction” put on by two CSULB artists named Dahlia Bañuelos and Daniel Bonilla-Vera. The exhibit centered around the experience two people shared of being rejected from a BFA photography program and the emotions of frustration, rejection, and anger that accompanied that event. The art that was actually featured was a wide variety of photographs sprawled around a room with a unique twist. Instead of the photographs being framed, they were outlined with yarn and the room maintained a neutral color scheme. The feelings experienced by the art students during this ordeal were well-expressed with the solemn color choices and the man-made bodies crouched, face-down on the floor.
Although the exhibit was put on by two people, I only got the chance to talk to one of the artists on Wednesday. When talking to Daniel Bonilla-Vera, an artist currently an undergraduate senior and originally from the central valley who moved here to attend CSULB, I learned a few more things about the exhibit and why certain things were done. Daniel personally described the exhibit as an “act of rebellion”, especially because they used a non-conventional way to hang the photographs. In the application process, photographs are to be neat and museum quality, however, this exhibit goes against those conventions. Daniel also tied this idea with the title of the overall exhibit. He explained to me that “infraction” means the disregard of laws. I also learned that all the photos featured in the exhibit were, in fact, rejected work.
I enjoyed this exhibit not only because it was visually appealing, but because it was a true expression of emotion. I was able to feel the emotions that the students felt and I respected and appreciated them. I also liked their honesty and openness. Confessing that you got rejected is something that can be vulnerable and I enjoyed how they turned their art being rejected into even more art. Instead of getting angry, they responded in a creative way and did not let the opinions of an institution let them stop pursuing what they were passionate about.
Dahlia Bañuelos: @deliaeffect
Daniel Bonilla-Vera: @dbvqp, dbvphotography.com