Wk 12 – Artist Conversation – Evelyn Contreras

Artist: Evelyn Contreras
Exhibition: Metastasis
Media: Print Making
Gallery: Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery
Evelyn showcases her printmaking exhibit at California State University, Long Beach as she is expected to graduate this semester. Upon graduation, she will be attending the University of Texas where she is offered a full ride plus stipe in. Originally from Santa Barbara, she moved to Long Beach in order to achieve her BFA.  Other than being a student, Contreras enjoys a whole array of activities ranging from hiking, and traveling to other locations. On her spare time, she works at CSULB’s very own computer lab. What inspires her draws from the fact that she really enjoys architecture. That being said, the majority of her exhibit focuses on the distortion & manipulation of various landmarks as she recreates them into her own through print making. What she basically does consists of taking something that already exists and reimagine it into her own idea. Contreras’ work both shows a reflection on how she embodies both Mexican and American values into her own self as she molds two different things into one (setting and imagination) and the resolution of human culture and forces of nature. 
The interesting thing about Contreras is the fact that she focuses on one form of media (print making) as it allows her to exemplify her mastery of the very technique. Because she her exhibit focuses on architecture, one of the main rules for her pieces is traveling. She physically goes to the location (particularly those of abandoned architectures) and takes photos in order to create her own pieces. However, the way she manipulates these pieces depends on the very architecture. That being said, much research is needed in order to make a complimentary distortion of the pictures as it embodies both the architecture and her original ideas. Although each piece takes roughly a minute to print, the time, travel, and dedication it takes to manipulate and travel is time consuming. Through manipulation, Contreras recreates new spaces from the original piece as she adds “layers on layers”.
Contreras’s pieces contain much meaning behind it. For example, her work suggests how human culture has evolved and abandoned various settlements. In order to survive, humans built buildings into order as a means for shelter. The fact that many of these buildings have been abandoned shows how historical advancement leaves behind these places to deteriorate. In order to build a photo and new ideas upon it, Contreras focuses on abandoned architecture in order to provide her own rendition through printmaking. Another reason behind her work suggests the balance of both her culture through the idea of printmaking. Just how she shows both cultures (Mexican and American), she mixes both the past and her ideas into one entity (art work) as a mean to balance two different forces. 
Contreras’s pieces allow me to see how something old and abandoned can be recreated into a whole other piece of art through the imagination. By manipulating these architectures, Contreras brings new life upon these abandoned structures. The message of balancing both two different ideas/subjects shows both a cultural and imaginative meaning. For the most part, not only I am impressed with her creativity and manipulation, but proud of her achievements in a personal level (we’re coworkers).  
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