Artist: Dulce Soledad Ibarra
Exhibition: Manos de Oro
Media: Sculpture, Installation, Video
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery East
About the Artist
I think I discovered one of my favorite artists so far at the SOA Galleries this week! I had the pleasure of chatting with CSULB senior, Dulce Soledad Ibarra, who is currently in the process of obtaining her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in sculpture. 25-year old Ibarra had previously obtained her Associate’s Degree at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, as well. What I noticed and enjoyed the most about Ibarra and her installation was how she connected everything back to her family and their hard work, especially her father. Ibarra had been working on smaller pieces of art, such as practicing painting, drawing and illustration, but she ultimately decided to do something bigger and decided to display her work in the gallery so that her family could come and view her installation that was truly inspired by them. As someone who is very family-oriented and appreciative of hard work, I definitely relate to the message that Ibarra was trying to portray in the galleries.
What intrigued me at first about Ibarra’s Manos de Oro exhibition was the instant aroma of cut grass that I smelled when I walked into the gallery. I thought it was a candle or some kind of spray, but I saw that the scent was coming from actual bags of cut leaves, branches and grass that were placed in two corners of the gallery. Ibarra also had a video of someone mowing a lawn and doing yard work which was all projected onto one of the back walls. On another wall hung two gold-painted pieces – a shovel and rake attached to each other and then garden sheers. Ibarra had painted a red and green lawn mower with the same gold color, as well. Additional gold-painted pieces were also laid on the ground, including a motor and what looked like other pieces of gardening machinery. Patches of grass were also placed on some of these pieces, as well.
Ibarra’s Manos de Oro was all about hard work and pride, and that was mainly a reflection of her father. This exhibition displays her appreciation for him because she acknowledges how hard he has worked to support her and her family throughout the years. Ibarra believes that hard work should never go unnoticed or unappreciated. After chatting with Ibarra, it was revealed that her father was the man doing the yard work in the video that she was projecting on the wall, and he had been working as a gardener for over 40 years. She mentioned that her and her father both have hands that work “like machines”, and I also believe that to be true, considering the work he does and considering she is an artist. What I found to be one of the most touching components of this whole exhibition was when Ibarra talked about being allergic to gold. When she was younger, her parents had saved up to buy her a piece of gold jewelry, but came to find out that she was allergic to it. Ever since then, Ibarra has felt that she was “allergic” to life’s luxuries, such as gold. However, the effort, love and support that her parents have shown and given her throughout her life have inspired her to go to school, achieve her goals and live out her dreams.
Synthesis / My Experience
I had mentioned earlier that Ibarra’s exhibition was one of my favorites that I had seen so far, and this was because she told a story that I could really relate to. Growing up, my parents had done everything they could to make sure my sister and I had healthy, happy and successful lives. They both worked long hours at their jobs and demonstrated what it really meant to be dedicated and hard-working. I know my parents always want the best for me and my sister, but I remember certain times when I would take them for granted. Their hard work as parents would go unnoticed and overlooked, but that should never be the case. I know that I would be no where without my parents. As a college student, I always try my absolute best in school and at work in order to make them proud and because they truly deserve the world. I know that Ibarra feels the same way, and that is why her work truly inspired me.