Artist: Amy Duran
Exhibition: Forever By Your Side
Media: Ceramics, Velvet, Grass, Sticks
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Marilyn Werby Gallery
Amy Duran is a fourth year undergraduate student at CSULB in the School of Art’s Ceramics Program. She will be graduating in May with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Ceramics. Amy is from Buena Park and attended Cypress College before transferring to CSULB. In the future, Amy plans to work in the entertainment business by creating, designing, and setting up decorations and props for movies and plays. When she is not creating art, Amy enjoys her work at A Wish and A Whisk bakery, where she designs, bakes, and decorates cakes. She also enjoys running her shop on Etsy, where she sells handmade ceramic brooches. Additionally, Amy enjoys passing time with her two pets: a puppy and a bunny.
Upon entering the exhibit, the most obvious feature is the setup. The exhibit is set up like a large house in the middle of the exhibit with curtains hanging from all sides. All of Amy’s ceramic pieces are located inside the house. Inside the house, there were several displays containing small, ceramic figures of a little girl and various animals. Each figure was very colorful and very detailed. Additionally, each display had a gold book next to it that had a description of the scene being depicted with the ceramic figures. Each display was also interactive; if you pulled a lever sticking out from the display, the ceramic pieces would move about.
Although Amy herself was not present to describe what influenced her own work, her brother was able to provide some insight into what inspired her to make such beautiful ceramic art works. He said that Amy’s exhibition was a coming of age story about a little girl struggling with anxiety, sexuality, and fear of becoming an adult. That little girl turned out to be Amy. Her brother stated that she used her childhood feeling of being an outsider and feeling isolated from everyone as the main inspiration for this exhibition. He also stated that Amy also addressed the fear of losing that inner child as a person transitions into an adult. But her message was that it is okay to feel scared about leaving childhood behind because the memories of the past will always bring warm feelings of nostalgia and a reassuring feelings of happiness.
To be honest, I was curious about this exhibition because of the crowd of people beginning to gather outside. So I decided to venture over to the Marilyn Werby Gallery and have a look at what was drawing so many people’s attention. I was immediately drawn into the large house-like structure in the middle of the gallery. However, when I walked into the house, my thoughts immediately began to change. Quite honestly, I thought the ceramic pieces were scary. I do not know what it was about the pieces, but I thought they were frightening and would appear in a nightmare. It could have been the contrast between the bright lights inside the house, and the darkness and emptiness outside the house. Or maybe it was the large animals depicted with life-like facial features. Either way, I was both interested and a little uneasy about looking at Amy’s artwork. I do not wish to discredit Amy’s art in any way; the pieces were beautiful and the setup was quite amazing. Moreover, the story behind the ceramic figures was heartwarming and spoke of true feelings about leaving childhood behind that many of us experience as we make that transition into adulthood. Simply because the ceramic figures appeared nightmarish to me does not mean that Amy Duran’s exhibition, Forever By Your Side, was not amazing. It was quite amazing, and it was definitely a different experience for me.