A Painless ‘Papercut’


Photo by Kevin Carter

Gianna Cognetti, Features Editor

Grace Barattini, Assistant Features Editor 

The opening reception for the Edith Langley Barrett Art Gallery was held Friday, Jan. 24 and is hosting their first exhibition of 2020, Papercut: Works on Paper. This exhibition has given numerous artists a chance to showcase their work that utilizes paper as the source of creation. 

Artists everywhere from Los Angeles to China have created pieces featured in the gallery here at UC. 

“Each artist has a unique style and theme to their work but they all come together in order to create a powerful exhibition making use of one of the most primary substrates in art: a piece of paper,” new Interim Gallery Director Mario Colón said. 

The mission of the gallery is to spark dialogue across different disciplines, inspire experimentation and foster inquiry. The space is also intended to be a center for UC students and the surrounding community to discover the arts, form connections and engage with others. 

To accomplish that, Colón ensures that students and guests will experience some of the best contemporary artwork that is being produced today. The gallery works directly with contemporary artists from major metropolitan areas that are up and coming or at the top of their field. 

Colón arrived at UC last Fall to teach several art classes and was later hired to fill the position of interim director of the gallery. Professor of English Jason Denman was involved with the hiring process.

“What stood out about Mario is lots of relevant experience and now that I see him at work [with] his superlative work ethic, he puts in a ton of time and has very high standards for himself,” Denman said. 

Photo by Kevin Carter

Elizabeth Flow, who is a student worker at the gallery, said she enjoys working with Colón and greeting guests. 

“Each time we have a new exhibit we have an opening, which consists of wonderful people coming together to appreciate the amazing works we have on display,” she said. 

Flow encourages students to come to the gallery this semester to experience Papercut: Works on Paper. Even if art is not their specialty, it is something everyone can enjoy and possibly relate to, according to the student worker.

There are a total of 10 featured artists in this exhibit, including Danny Julian DeMeza, a Los Angeles-based contemporary artist. 

DeMeza has been drawing since he was nine-years-old and has used art as his way of escaping trauma and turmoil as a child. DeMeza drew symbols that represented the emotions he was feeling at that moment.

Now, these symbols have graduated into developed pieces of art. However, the theme for DeMeza’s art has not changed much since childhood. He still enjoys creating content from his personal life. 

This is his favorite type of art to create because it allows him to build introspective narratives that help with the healing process of difficult times and transitions. 

“I think what makes my work unique is its ability to translate emotions on a deeper level of relation,” DeMeza said. 

DeMeza’s artwork is even more unique because of the psychological filters, Russian literature influences and his personal experiences that he incorporates into his pieces. 

“I hope people can intimately view my artwork and feel something of a connection or relation to my experience,” DeMeza said. “I want the audience to feel as if they have spent time with me through a personal conversation and illustrative narrative filled with emotion and genuineness.”