Artist: Robert Nehemiah and Elmer Guevara
Media: Paint, Wood, Metal, Canvas, Cardboard
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
- Robert Nehemiah:@wookieewarrior
- Elmer Guevara: @3lmski1
About the Artist
Elmer and Robert are both undergraduate students in the CSULB’s Art Drawing and Painting program working to get their BFA. Elmer grew up in Los Angeles and realized his passion for art at a young age, Robert on the other hand, had his eyes set on becoming a firefighter but learned that he could not give up his love for art. They are both transfer students, Robert transferred from Rio Hondo College while Elmer transferred from East Los Angeles College. Previously, these two partners have not worked together but they found similarities in each other’s work that they liked so in the common ground they created “Immaterial”.
Robert uses materials like cardboard, tarp, and wood as a surface for his paint while Elmer prefers canvas. Robert uses dark, neutral colors in his work as oppose to Elmer who uses slightly brighter colors along with actual denim from jeans. Robert paints people that are important to him like his mother, grandmother, and mentor. Elmer’s content seems to portray those in Los Angeles; he interviews the homeless and takes photographs that he later turns into his art, using the same colors but different perspective, patterns, and designs to form an illusion.
Elmer being born in Los Angeles he was always surrounded by art. The graffiti he would come across everyday along with the homeless people on every block really is eyeopening. The collage that he created and the detail included with the street names, the buildings in the background, signs/billboards represent each person and their experiences. One of Elmer’s portraits shows a picture of someone who is quite fidgety and is always moving so the way he styled the painting shows a style of movement. Elmer talked to those that no one wanted to hear about and disregarded. Robert on the other hand used materials that people disregarded for example cardboard. He explained how cardboard can be a fragile yet durable material as a symbol of all good things come to an end. He tries to stray away from material items because that is what we seem to focus on currently. Robert reminds me to not take anything or anyone for granted because we can lose a person at any time while not to take any material for granted because that tied with Elmer’s main target, homeless people. These homeless people do not have a lot of things that they can take with them and each material is special so the things I might throw away I will think twice before doing so. Not only that, but even homeless people are human, some might be weird and borderline crazy but not everyone is the same and their voices need to be heard as well.
I wrote about this exhibition instead of the others because this one really spoke to me. I basically have lived in Long Beach my whole life so I related somewhat. Long Beach may be included in Los Angeles but they are two different places, and the dynamics are completely different. I was a huge fan of the materials they used because it made all the pieces look really rugged and almost natural. In the gallery it switched from Robert to Elmer’s work and it had a natural flow to it even though it was mixed up and it was very neat and well put together. Elmer’s work was incredible because he is listening to how the homeless feel and even though he might not be able to do much he is doing more than the rest of us by just listening. Robert’s lack of materialism is something that impressed me because in our society everyone is all about who has what and the newest purchases, but he does not care about materials, he cares about these people he surrounds himself with. It was really cool how Robert made each one unique by tying a material with a person in his life. All in all Elmer and Robert’s work together flowed incredibly and both brought a new standpoint in my life that I was not thinking about before. The style they use to make their art is something you do not see often which is why to me I feel like it brings out more emotion and get the message across far more clearly with a form that you can relate to.