GT resident Randy Lauw’s first exhibit explores anguish and redemption

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IECN courtesy photo:  Randy Lauw, a fine art senior at La Sierra University, will showcase a collection of self portrait pieces exploring life’s cyclical process through anguish and redemption.
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Randy Lauw, fine art senior at La Sierra University will showcase in his first exhibit a collection of self-portrait pieces exploring life’s cyclical process through anguish and redemption.

Lauw’s exhibit “Nemesis” will be open Monday, April 2 – Thursday, April 12 at La Sierra University’s Brandstater Gallery with an artist’s reception and talk at 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 8.

The exhibit features 21 pieces of artwork varying from relief prints, ceramic sculptures, to mixed media sculptures, as well as two sound installations. It was influenced by Adrián Villar Rojas, a contemporary artist whose work challenges the institutional authority of art museums, and Trenton Doyle Hancock, another contemporary artist known for his use of self-portraiture in his fantastical narrative. In his artist’s statement, Lauw explains that “Nemesis,” which is “composed of partial and complete self-portraits, seeks to immerse viewers into fabricated grief, self-antagonizing, disarray, and liberation.”

“I spent my underclassman days creating work about monsters based off of human traits, a tale of two brothers in a retro-futuristic world, and a plane of existence called the Ethereal—where knowledge converges and those who enter depart in madness,” said Lauw, describing the three worlds he created that inspired most of his earlier art. As he further developed these unrelated stories, Lauw began to recognize their shared roots in his own cognition.

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“I abandoned these stories, and instead chose to weave them together and tell them indirectly,” Lauw said, explaining that their common self-portraiture traits unified the stories and led to the genesis of “Nemesis.” The three subgenres in the exhibit pay homage to the collection’s roots, appropriately titled “Monster Duo,” “Sovereign Duo,” and “Ethereal Duo.” Each subgenre references Lauw’s early work and personal inspiration for “Nemesis.”

“Monster Duo” developed through the traits that Lauw saw in others and himself, particularly the ones that he disliked, while “Sovereign Duo” stemmed from the roles he played in his family, as well as in society. “Ethereal Duo” is rooted in postmodernist theory, specifically what Lauw calls, “the difficulty in pinpointing truth, questioning the progress of mankind, and attempting to dissolve social strata.” These themes can all be found in the work being showcased in “Nemesis.”

The main exhibit is installed in a circular setup, allowing viewers to start from any point. Depending on which direction viewers go, they can experience the cycle of anguish and redemption starting with pieces in a lonely state that progress into works encompassing the theme of a sovereign ruler, or experience the process in reverse.

Lauw’s creativity was piqued during his early childhood when he was given building kits to play with. Rather than looking at the instruction booklets, he would use his imagination to create his own model. He started out as a computer science major at the University of California, Merced, before discovering his passion for clay sculpting and transferring to La Sierra University to pursue his Bachelor of Fine Arts.

A native of Grand Terrace, Lauw hopes to find work experience in the art field, preferably as an art teacher, before applying to graduate school. He is currently considering the sculpture program at the University of California, Los Angeles, or the printmaking program at California State University, Long Beach.

Brandstater Gallery is located in the Visual Arts Center on Middle Campus Drive. Admission to the gallery and artist’s reception is free. Gallery hours are Monday – Thursday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. La Sierra University is located at 4500 Riverwalk Parkway, Riverside. For further information call 951-785-2170 or email Gallery Director Tim Musso at tmusso@lasierra.edu. A campus map is available at https://lasierra.edu/campus-map/.

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