Out of all the art galleries I’ve visited this semester, an exhibition called Work Hardened was the one that definitely captured my most attention. Brianna Allen was an artist who’s artwork was the one I was most interested in.
She originally started off making jewelry, but moved to California State University of Long Beach after she found out about the amazing blacksmith program in the university. When we asked her why she chose metal as her main product to build her sculptures, she told us something that I’ve never thought before. She told us she tried exploring through different kinds of material: ceramics, wood, paper, etc. She believed that metal is the best when creating her artwork because metal is very malleable and can be formed into different kinds of shapes you want it to be. Metal also doesn’t deteriorate as fast as wood, which is not malleable at all.
We asked her about one of her artworks that looked like a water tower called Network. It’s made out of copper, brass, and mixed media. She referred to the water tower as sorcery because water is something that everyone needs in order to live. Everyone in the community uses it, and without it, there would be no life.
Another piece of hers that captured my attention was called Channel 2. This was made out of silver and mixed media. She explained to us how people are just put in front of the television to absorb the different kinds of stuff the media tries to put into our brains. The televisions, she says, also allow people to think that they are being productive when watching it, but in harsh reality, they are just sitting on the couch absorbing unnecessary things that actually going outside to do something.
My most favorite piece was Mating Rituals IV. This amazed me the most because I loved playing chess when I was younger. The perfect separation of the white and black sand was so mesmerizing, because how can two different colors of sand come together and look like one? After I asked her how she was able to put the white and black sand together without it mixing together, she explained that she had a wooden grid that she made and put the sand in between the squares using a funnel. She says that the past Mating Rituals have also been chess themed, except that she use other material such as currency. She told us how one of the Mating Rituals were made out of currency and folded the bills into origami. The two sides, instead of it being white v. black, was about Iraq v. United States since one side had US currency and the other had Iraq currency.