Artists: Elmer Guevara & Robert Nehemiah
Media: Canvas, unprimed cardboard, paint, tarp/mesh, metal, unprimed wood
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov West Gallery
Elmer Guevara and Robert Nehemiah were both from Los Angeles and attended different colleges; Nehemiah attended Rio Honda College where as Guevara attended East Los Angeles College. Nehemiah originally aspired to become a firefighter, but while in college he realized how passionate he was becoming about painting and different forms of art. However while Nehemiah was discovering his passion for the arts, Guevara always had a strong interest and connection with art and decided that was what he wanted to pursue for his career. Both men met in one of their shared classes for this project and immediately hit it off as friends due to their shared interests in forms of art and decided to collaborate for this exhibit. They are both currently attending CSULB and graduating this semester with a BFA in Drawing and Painting.
Both Elmer Guevara and Robert Nehemiah use mostly dark colored oil based paints throughout their works of art to illicit a solemn and wistful feeling. However both enjoy using different forms of media; Guevara typically favors using large canvases for his portraits, while Nehemiah uses a variety of different unprimed media from cardboard to wood to even tarp. Both artists also have differing textures due to the forms of media they selected to do their portraits on. While most of his paintings are smooth, Guevara also utilizes a rough material he paints over on his canvases to accent certain areas such as the roughness of a man’s denim jeans. Nehemiah also uses texture in his works by not priming his paintings before creating them. This leads to them having a visibly rough weathered texture on top of the reused materials.
The underlying message both artists are trying to convey to their audiences is an attempt to have people really break from materialistic ways and to see the beauty in every day blessings we take for granted. Hence the title of the exhibit “Immaterial”. This is why Robert Nehemiah chose to paint everyday people in our lives such our grandmothers, friends, and mentors. Guevara became inspired for his work by his desire to detach from material and his creative exploration of overlooked people and materials. He also is striving to shed light on different materials that are discarded when instead they can be reused creatively to form new types of art. Through his use of cardboard, unprimed wood, and old discarded tarps Nehemiah did an amazing job painting such realistic and emotional works of art. Elmer Guevara however drew his inspiration from the city of Los Angeles and the hardship surrounding the city. Guevara in his paintings captures the movement and depiction of mental illness that he photographed while in LA. After taking multiple shots of the area and people he interviewed, Guevara then created a collage from the pictures taken and enhanced the important parts he wanted to call attention to. Once this was finished the final step was to transfer his collage, and paint his incredible painting on the large canvas.
This exhibit has been one of the most creative, inspiring, and interesting exhibits I have seen so far and I really enjoyed seeing the different forms of media incorporated and reused in this exhibit. The different media really caught my eye as it added a new and different texture I have never seen before done with painting. I also really enjoyed how much effort was obviously put into every single painting showcased in this exhibit. It honestly looked fantastic enough to be placed in a museum! I really appreciate the amount of work that went into the LA paintings as well as the time that went into every interview and collage Guevara created. The dark colors in both paintings really helped shed light on the pained expressions of the subjects’ faces, as well as contrasting nicely with the rough browned background. I truly enjoyed every piece in this exhibit, and I wish the best of luck and the greatest of thank you’s to Elmer Guevara and Robert Nehemiah for sharing their amazing work with us!