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Fresno State Professor Transforms Criticism into Art
February 13, 2017
The art exhibition “A Smiley Fit” in the Art Space Gallery may act as a refuge for students looking to escape the gray of the campus concrete.
In this exhibit, artist Joshua Dildine uses colorful abstract painting to deface photographs of his family members.
The defacement explores the language between painting and photography as well as the idea of taking power from an image.
Images, according to Dildine, have great power to emotionally move someone.
Yet, the viewer gives the image power by placing significance on the photograph or relating it to something significant.
“This [exhibition] is an exploration of denying power to photographs by defacing my family,” Dildine said.
Before this realization of power, Dildine received critiques on his earlier work that said it was too impersonal, as most abstract art does, he said.
So, Dildine painted over his face as a sarcastic response.
Around this time, Dildine also moved to Fresno where there was a prevalence of family.
Family combined with the sarcastic response was ultimately the catalyst for the exploration of the language between medias and the act of denying an image power.
As a result, Dildine began painting over his family members, such as, his mother, and that’s when he realized the power of an image.
He explained that someone probably wouldn’t want to poke their mother’s eyes out of a photograph or there would at least be some sort of hesitation.
“There are connections with an image that I noticed through the hesitation. We are giving power to inanimate objects, to a photo,” Dildine said.
Dildine said that he still cares about and loves his family despite the defacement but, “it’s more personal” and “it’s about denying power.”
Nonetheless, Dildine says that the photographs are what inspire the abstract painting.
With painting, he creates depth of field, shadows, highlights and a light source which can be found in a photograph.
Many of the photographs are stripped of their original composition and are turned upside down, which is another way to deny an image power, Dildine said.
At the reception in the gallery during ArtHop on Feb. 2, students had the opportunity to ask Dildine questions and look at the exhibit.
“I was confused with everything at first,” Elsa Solano, communications major, said in response to one art piece. “It seems like the artist took something ordinary like a room and made it into this whirl. Since it’s flipped, it’s like another dimension that we don’t see.”
Dildine said students should “experience the painting and relate to them or create and find what they can through the interaction and language between painting and photography.”
He said the combination of abstract painting and photography was “a window into a visceral world.”
The exhibit will be displayed until Feb. 23. Entrance is free.