Week 4: Artist Conversation – Elmer Guevara and Robert Nehemiah

Exhibition Information

Artists: Elmer Guevara and Robert Nehemiah

Exhibition: Immaterial

Media: Paint, wood, canvas

Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West

Website: None

Instagram: Elmer Guevara – 3lmski1, Robert Nehemiah – Wookieewarrior

About the Artists 

Elmer Guevara and Robert Nehemiah are both upcoming graduates at Cal State Long Beach. They will be celebrating with a Bachelors of Fine Arts. They are enrolled in the School of Arts in the program for drawing and painting, which is a great passion of theirs.  Elmer has a passion for art since the beginning of his youth. He was greatly influenced by his older cousins and friends. They introduced him first to graffiti and paintings which he has been continuing until current time. On the other hand, Robert was a potential artist but did not always pursue a career in art.  In one point of his life, he wanted to be a firefighter for the idea of a paying job as he got older. However, he was influenced from a previous course and changed his career path. He left his firefighter career to join the art industry. He enjoys painting portraits of a significant person in his life such as his family members. His speciality is painting on different types of materials to display.

Formal Analysis 

There are two different types of artwork in the exhibit, Immaterial. There is a pattern of each. First there is a painting on canvas, then there is a painting on wood, and so on.

The canvas depicts an abstract pattern. Some of the canvas paintings have more texture which makes it more 3D and alive.For example, the painting called, “Lala,” has more detailing around his pants. There is material that folds outward and adds volume to become more realistic.

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Most of the canvas based paintings are the same as well. They are not just painted on but is jagged on the surface. There is staccato in the paintings. Objects would sometimes be similar to double vision due to the idea of moving in the painting. The canvases consists of many different colors and mostly present a background of the city streets. The colors within the person consists of more warm and cool colors. The only bright color would be the blue sky in some of the backgrounds.

The other paintings are uniquely on different materials. There is unprimed wood, tarp, metal, and cardboard. The paint is smooth on the surface and does not have any texture with the paint itself. However, the material is what adds texture to the paintings. The border of the painting is not smooth, straight but more broken and run down. The paint colors are not very bright and adds a more solemn effect. However, the paint on the different materials looks freshly painted on and vibrant. It focuses on only one person with a simple background. There is little light coming from one angle of their face that views as a spotlight which signifies the importance of the person.

Content Analysis

Robert Nehemiah uses different materials for his art. He says he doesn’t try to force his model onto the material but rather wants them to connect and mean something when they come together. He first finds a material that attracts him the most and then finds a person to bond with it. Most of his work is a one person portrait because he wants to show the importance of the person. He also uses very warm but vibrant colors to make his portraits more serious.

Although Elmer focuses on one person as well, his portraits more abstract. His idea is to visually present a portrait of the person moving. His reasoning is because of the many photos he takes of the person. They live on the streets and they are always moving around. He initially has a visual interview, as he calls it, with someone random on the street of South LA and sometimes downtown LA. Most of his work symbolizes the person he has interviewed and their story. His inspirations for his paintings comes from the city, where he is from. All of his paintings are from South LA except his painting called “Portrait of a Friend” which is from downtown LA.

Synthesis/My Experience

I really enjoyed the ideas of the artists. The paintings were simple enough where I can understand but there was also a very significant meaning behind it. It was my type of exhibit where I really enjoyed the show. I could see the similarities that the artists had together as well, which definitely helped both of their artwork flow together.

Walking into the gallery, I saw the portraits were also very large. I liked how it gave a close-up feel but it also was not very overwhelming. The colors were on the darker warm side which gave a relaxing view. However, my favorite part of the exhibit is seeing the the different materials used and the meanings behind each portraits. The artists gave a little insight on each of their artwork that was displayed which included a small story as well. It was very interesting to hear how they came about and produced each painting so uniquely to display for each person.

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