Greenly Art Space has used its “Artists in Communities” grant from the California Arts Council to fund Running in Place, an exhibit by CSU Fullerton graduate student Juan Gomez. The grant is designed to help artists create work that is relevant to the communities in which they live.
Kimberly Hocking, Greenly’s director and curator said, “I am excited to work with Juan on his first solo exhibition. It has been a journey to guide Juan as he showcases his textured and multilayered work.”
Hocking provided a work space during the development of the show; community members were able to follow a blog detailing the day-by-day creative process.
“When I started this body of work, the ideas that were present at the time were reactions to social, political, and economic facets that have given other artists like myself a need to speak up creatively," Gomez said.
Gomez's art is at once intensely personal and reflective of the community in which he lives. The title, “Running in Place” refers both to the way his working class ancestors lived on the land — overcoming challenges while staying in place — and the way in which generation after generation faces the same social obstacles: marginalization, oppression, and want.
The art featured in “Running in Place” are a combination of new and previous mixed media works. Many of Gomez’s works feature recurring motifs such as horses and scorpions. The horse references his family’s rural roots as well as the possibility of forward progress. The scorpion, in contrast, represents the dangers on the road. The vivid and detailed animal motifs contrast with more abstract backgrounds featuring bold and vibrant colors.
Gomez plans to give a talk at Greenly about his work and experience. He said he also hopes to arrange a presentation on his art and process at a local mental health center as a way to give back to his community and inspire others.
Running in Place runs through Jan. 11 at 2698 Junipero Ave. #113, Signal Hill. Hours are 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday or by appointment. Admission is free. For more information go to www.greenlyartspace.org or call 562-533-4020.