'Fountain' graces the Tall Wall
Posted April 3, 2009
Stephanie Arrelanes
Chris Oatey discusses his installation, “Fountain," with Aaron Mancini of Los Angeles. Oatey, who lives and works in Los Angeles, has been featured in several galleries including Kent State, Cranbrook Academy of Art and See Line Gallery. The reception for Oatey took place Sunday at the Tall Wall Space in the Arts and Communications Building. The exhibition will close Dec. 18.

Marla Bahloul
Staff Writer


The Tall Wall Space, located in the Arts and Communications Building, showcased its current housing artist Chris Oatey’s “Fountain“ piece on Sunday during the gallery opening reception.

The Tall Wall Space accommodates a number of exhibitions by emerging contemporary artists.

What Oatey refers to as an optical paradox, the piece combines the elements of large-scale proportion along with subtlety.

“Knowing that I was going to use a piece in this space, I tried seeing how I could best use the architecture for the art. I was really interested in fountains. The fountain here is smaller; I wanted to create a bigger one for the students to enjoy,“ Oatey said.

The Tall Wall Space allows artists a vast amount of space that is free for them to utilize as they wish.

The technique he used in this piece is one he uses regularly in his studio.

It is a template process that utilizes a carbon paper, and in this case, the carbon paper was of considerable proportion.

“I used carbon transfer paper. It’s a process I’ve been using in my own studio. I’m infusing my own visual texture through this repeated art process. The (carbon transfer process) is an interesting added element,“ Oatey said.

Nearly 30 people came to see the two-story spectacle.

“The actual drawing of the piece, we did in a couple of days. Putting it together took about a month. It was a very laborious process,“ Oatey said.

Oatey and his team spent the majority of their time laying out the carbon paper on the two story wall.

It was an arduous method.

Similar to a puzzle, production of the piece required patience and accuracy.

The carbon sheets had to be laid out precisely.

The gallery reception welcomed a number of artists, many of whom represented ULV ‘s art department.

“It ‘s an interesting implementation of an electronic halftone process rendered by hand,” said photography department manager, Kevin Bowman.

Many in attendance were receptive of Oatey ‘s project.

“The exhibit is great. The image of the fountain on the Tall Wall Space is very engaging with the viewer,” said senior art major Michael Gutierrez.

“The atmospheric nature of fountains compliments the wall gracefully,” Gutierrez added.

Oatey has a number of projects that he will be displaying throughout the year.

He has also been chosen to participate in the Ucross foundation.

It fosters innovative artists in the fields of visual arts, literature and music.

“I am in an exhibition of L.A. artists that will be going to Athens, (opening) in the middle of May, called Edges in the West. I ‘m also going to an artist residency in Wyoming,” Oatey said.

Oatey recieved his Master of Fine Arts degree from Otis College of Art and Design.

His work has been reviewed in NY Arts Magazine, Artweek, L.A. Weekly and the Los Angeles Times.

The “Fountain” will be featured through Dec 18.

It can be viewed on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by appointment.

Marla Bahloul can be reached at marla.bahloul@laverne.edu.

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