dA gallery serves up art on a tray
Posted Dec. 5, 2008
Stephanie Arellanes
The gallery event “Popztlan” was presented by the dA Center for the Arts from Nov. 8-22. The event concluded with an exhibition evening on Nov. 22, centered around the ordinary cafeteria tray. Father Bill Moore, a Pomona artist, serves as pastor at the Congregation of Sacred Heart.

Cafeteria trays usually contain a dish of mystery meat with a side of carrots and a carton of milk. However, some contain vaginas too.

The dA Center for the Arts hosted the “Tray Chic” event, a fundraiser for itself, at the closing reception of its latest exhibition, “Popztlan,” at the Pomona Arts Colony.

Artists from all over Los Angeles County united to transform ordinary cafeteria-style trays into unique masterpieces to be sold at auction.

“The trays we received were amazing, and I really think the artists did a great job,” Tiffani McEwan, dA employee, said.

Upon entering the gallery, trays could be found on the walls, on the floor and on countertops all throughout the exhibit. Some told stories while others gave mixed messages.

Lilli Mulles, artist participant, received laughs and raised eyebrows for her tray project.

Two arms poked out of a wall holding a tray with what appeared to be a sculpture of female genitalia accompanied by the phrase, “Bon Appetit.”

“It’s a little awkward seeing that served on a tray,” Nancy Padilla, a Glendora resident, said. Awkward or not, one guest placed a bid on it for $20.

Some trays had practical uses. Four toilet plungers pierced each corner of a tray, making it a small corner table.

Occasional “ooh’s” and “ah’s” could be heard as guests made their way around the tray-studded gallery.

Not all trays were for sale; some were on display just for amusement. One tray had a huge hole in it and food splattered on the floor below. Other trays had inscribed notes. Underneath one seemingly bare tray read, “Everything is Beautiful.”

Some artists incorporated photography into their projects.

“I was waiting for an opportunity to put my photographs to good use,” Margery Epstein, a Los Angeles photographer, said.

Her work, entitled, “Bukowski’s Lunch: Eating His Words,” incorporated poetry by Charles Bukowski and photographs she had accumulated over the last couple of years.

All in black and white, her photos of a waitress in a lonely diner complemented excerpts from Bukowski’s poems, which Epstein described as “stark and depressive.”

“I liked the subjectivity of black and white and the graphic quality,” Epstein said.

While tray masterpieces proved to be the main attraction of the night, “Popztlan” offered a variety of abstract paintings, sculptures and out-of-this world creations.

As guests continued their journey around the gallery, some pieces of art begged for attention more than others.

A pair of arms poked out of a wall yet again, this time holding a marionette. It is called, “Who’s in Control?” by Armando Peralta. Two TV remotes cleverly acted as the control bar.

“It looks like the media are controlling people,” Josue Velasquez, gallery volunteer, said as he shared his perception of the five-foot piece of art.

A glow-in-the dark painting lured guests down a flight of stairs to a dim-lit basement filled with art of different media.

A movie theater-like setup made select guests comfortable as they sat and watched graphic art in motion.

Three enormous screens stood side-by-side, each displaying different simulations of traveling instances and morphing scenery.

“I like this display because it’s so different,” Padilla said.

Among other interesting pieces of art on display was a bridge that was once over the L.A. River.

In addition to art, guests enjoyed Middle Eastern hors d’oeuvres and wine tasting.

Thirty percent of the tray proceeds went to the artists, and 70 percent was donated to the gallery to help with the rising costs of operation.

Trays not sold at the silent auction are available for purchase the entire month of December at the dA Center, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2009.

Mark Vidal can be reached at mark.vidal@laverne.edu.


Stephanie Arellanes
“Tray Chic,” the theme of the night’s event, included pieces from local artists who created a design using a cafeteria tray provided by the dA Center for the Arts. Father Bill Moore’s piece, titled, “Prison Tray” was included in the silent auction.


Sound of Beethoven fills Founders

dA gallery serves up art on a tray


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