Hanging from the ceiling and interconnected like the neurons of a brain, Long Beach State ceramics major Diana Nguyen’s installation exhibit features ropes, chains and boxes that act as a mind map into her thoughts.
Nguyen’s explores the inner workings of her mind and the constant stream of thoughts that crowd her head in her exhibit, “Seeking Equilibrium” during this week in the School of Art Galleries.
Purposefully taking up the entire space of the Gastov East gallery, Nguyen’s installation piece features over 20 wooden boxes of all sizes strung together, some hanging feet in the air and others scattered across the floor. Due to this, the exhibit does not provide a typical walking path for viewers, as they must walk between ropes and chains to fully navigate the piece.
“It’s busy like my mind is,” Nguyen said. “I like the aspect that it’s uncomfortable to walk around because they’re my thoughts.”
Tiny figurines such as a skull, a hand and some animals including a dog are also present throughout the gallery. Nguyen said she intended for viewers to navigate the gallery on a “treasure hunt” to find them.
Senior ceramics major and longtime classmate of Nguyen, Crystal Mitchell viewed the installation exhibit and noticed some of the minor details.
“I really enjoy that she has a lot of hidden things in it,” Mitchell said. “At first when you walk in you see a bunch of boxes and everything but when you start looking and paying attention you can see little figurines. You won’t find those unless you’re really looking.”
Nguyen’s minefield of boxes also contain intertwining bridges acting as symbols for the struggles she has encountered.
“The boxes represent me being stuck in a box while walking back and forth and never going anywhere,” Nguyen said, adding that the bridges symbolize her “walking back and forth and not knowing what to do with [her] life.”
Nguyen has struggled with the uncertainty of where life would take her since elementary school. She remembered feeling as though she “had no actual talent” in anything except creating art.
When she was a child, Nguyen’s parents wanted her to go to school to become a doctor, scientist or any other profession they claimed would make a lot of money and she found herself not knowing what to do.
Upon graduating high school, Nguyen enrolled at a community college and finally found her niche.
“I took so many classes trying to figure out what I wanted to do and then I ended up taking some art classes and I loved it,” Nguyen said.
Now as a senior in her last semester at LBSU, Nguyen has decided that art is truly her calling and hopes that after graduating, she can ultimately teach art at the collegiate level.
She’s currently is a teacher assistant at Golden West College and her work efforts on “Seeking Equilibrium” were appreciated by one of her students Jean Oh.
“She’s always working and is a very dedicated person,” Oh said.
“Seeking Equilibrium” among four other exhibits can be viewed at the Fine Arts buildings on campus from noon to 5 p.m. every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and noon to 7 p.m. Wednesdays.
Oct. 10: This story’s headline and deck have been updated.