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GLAMFA showcases student works

Three years ago, a group of innovative CSULB MFA students set out to bridge the gap between the artistic worlds of Long Beach and LA. They aimed to create an exchange of ideas that would lead to a thriving community of artists.

The resulting event, the Greater Los Angeles Masters of Fine Art exhibition, does just that. Featuring fifty-five artists and collectives, this year’s installment, which is available for viewing in CSULB’s student galleries until Sept. 20, runs the gamut of mediums, subject matter and messages.

I attended the opening reception of the presentation Sunday. The variety of pieces on display was impressive, and I was intrigued by the compelling themes addressed by the works. I felt that the concepts of the dystopia of suburbia, terrorism and immigration were a common thread in many.

One featured artist is Megan Madzoeff, a recent graduate of Claremont Graduate University.

Her submission is a sculpture constructed of hip replacements, salt and crushed CDs, among other things, and bears the lengthy title, “This place won’t end ’til it explodes into a thousand tiny pieces. What’s your story, universe?”

Madzoeff focuses her work on the evolution and progress of the human race. She said that she has always been fascinated by how far we’ve come.

“From caveman to where we are now is such a huge disconnect,” Madzoeff said, “but it’s one with advancements.”

And although MFA students attending Long Beach aren’t featured in the galleries, they opened their studios to the public during the reception.

This gave me the opportunity to explore the workspaces of CSULB’s own graduate students, allowing for insight into the individual style of each as well as glimpses of the artistic process.

Co-curated by James Adams, Christen Sperry-Garcia, Desiree DeVirgilio, McLean Fahnestock, Michael Bernard and Carol Cheh, GLAMFA is a time-consuming undertaking that draws attention to the hotbed of creativity that is the greater LA area.

And unlike other quantity-focused MFA exhibitions, this event is distinguished by the thoroughness of its curation.

Adams, a CSULB grad student, hand-picked roughly half of the contributors, and the rest were carefully selected from open-call submissions.

GLAMFA shows art from thirteen different schools ranging from California Institute of Arts to UC San Diego, but this diversity is based solely on the strength of the artists, not a quota system intended to represent as many colleges as possible.

“It’s the attention to the quality of the work that sets the exhibit apart,” Adams said.

This year has been the most highly publicized for GLAMFA, and Adams says that he expects the 300-person attendance of years past to at least double this time around.

And, given the abundance of thought-provoking media on display, that expectation is well-deserved.

The West Coast art scene has its epicenter in LA, and this installment allows for a look towards what is up and coming on the horizon.

GLAMFA is an immersive and enthralling experience that allows all members of the public to see first hand what’s on the minds of this generation’s creative youth.

With an exhibit as unique and exciting as GLAMFA on campus, I think every student at CSULB should take some time to check it out.

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