Observers are invited to embark on photographic journeys through the new exhibit “Common Threads,” currently on display in the University of La Verne Harris Art Gallery. Through their own memorable life encounters, viewers will find personal connections with the works of artists Allyson Klutenkamper, Nate Larson and Adriane Little.

An opening reception was held to an enthusiastic crowd of students and faculty on Tuesday.

The exhibit’s namesake is rooted in community. Gary Colby, professor of photography and curator, said all people share a common thread; basic experiences, problems and personal demons that allow them to form connections with one another.

The work of Klutenkamper, Larson and Little, all of who were described as “emerging contemporary artists,” corresponded to the exhibit’s theme.

“In everyone’s head, there is a slightly different story appropriate to his or her collective unconscious,” Colby said.

Viewers discover their
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Viewers discover their Common Thread

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Junior John Dandoy discusses “Spinning Egg 2004” with senior Soraya Askari at the artists’ reception for the exhibition “Common Threads,” in the Harris Gallery on Tuesday. While some students, faculty and administrators examine pieces from Adriane Little, Allyson Klutenkamper and Nate Larson, others had the opportunity to chat with Little and Larson online. Larson wrote, “I’m a storyteller, weaving tales of ordinary days gone peculiar…”
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Posted September 16, 2005

“We all draw instances out of each photo based on our own personal experiences or the stories inside ourselves,” he added.

The concept for “Common Threads” was consequential to the goals and drive behind the Society for Photographic Education, which encourages the study of photography and its corresponding benefits on a more extensive scale.

Colby, along with Dion Johnson, art department manager, and Ruth Trotter, art and art history department chair, selected the works of Klutenkamper, Larson and Little from approximately 250 portfolio submissions.

Johnson said organizing a group exhibit required certain correlations among the artists’ works.

“As one [piece] relates to another through narration, lighting, human form or media, a concept of connectivity emerges and generates an interrelating experience, or, as the show is named, a common thread,” Johnson said.

Klutenkamper, a digital photography and imaging artist, causes the home to reflect misery, isolation and confusion, rather than happiness, warmth and security, through photographs of domestic settings, faceless womanly figures and common household items.

The faceless women in her photographs seem trapped in their culturally defined household duties, seemingly portraying a feministic message to her viewers.

At the same time, however, Klutenkamper’s message is universal, speaking to men and women alike.

Patricia Carrillo, a junior criminology major, said she thought the household items in Klutenkamper’s work were reflective of a woman’s chores.

“I think the close pins, measuring cups, ribbon and buttons represent a woman’s job, because most of the things (these items symbolize) are done by women,” Carrillo said.

Larson, artist and photographer, said his work was representative of his exploration of the various cultural structures that shape human views.

Larson personally invites observers to ?share his work, as he himself is the main character in his photographic stories.

“My artwork is an examination of the role of belief in our culture and the ways in which that belief is formulated,” Larson said. “To do this, I examine different structures through which people try to understand the world, such as religion, science and the occult.”

In “Stimulating Second Sight,” for example, Larson tries his hand at a Buddhist practice to determine its soundness. In his photograph, he portrays a man who after reading a religious book forms the belief that he, too, can stimulate second sight.

Little, a visual artist, describes her work as an exploration of habitual activities and suffering through the lack of the maternal existence. The digital video pieces “Call Home Mothers Dead” and “Offering” seem to portray a subject struggling to complete her routine activities due to the loss of a motherly figure.

“My personal motive for the work is mother loss and an attempt to reclaim a notion of ‘mother,’” Little said.

Observers were also given the opportunity to participate in a live Internet chat with Larson and Little, two out of the three artists featured in the exhibit. Adriana Ortega, senior art major, said she felt each artist’s work shared the common elements of storytelling and anonymity.

“Together they all seem mysterious or ambiguous in a way; all of them seem to be a narrative,” Ortega said.

“There’s a sense of an event that has happened or is about to happen,” she added.

The common threads of the exhibit can be found in the artists themselves; the narrative and ambiguous elements inherent in each artists’ works, the artists’ individual investigations of culture and creations of personal identity and, most importantly, the overall theme of community.

“Common Threads” will run until Oct. 21.

Jessica Bell can be reached at ledjessilin@yahoo.com