Behind Costumes and Red Cups

Navigating life post-college is no easy feat — especially if you’re an artist. But this week, Brooks Institute is making a (very) strong case for its recently graduated set. On Thursday, February 7, Gallery 27 (which is attached to the school’s Cota Street campus) unveils We Came for This, a group show featuring three new projects by alums Erika P. Rodriguez, Cara Robbins, and Stephen Tamiesie.

We Came for This is a real narrow look at some of the things in society that people are drawn to come together for, and they’re definitely extremes,” explained Gallery 27 curator Jesse Groves.

For 24-year-old Rodriguez, that extreme comes by way of Isla Vista’s annual Halloween celebrations, which she had heard about since moving to California from her hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico. For “Behind Costumes and Red Cups,” Rodriguez set out to immerse herself in the ultimate I.V. party experience but ultimately came away with images of the isolation that exists among the chaos. “It’s a little tongue-in-cheek,” said Groves. “It’s like, ‘You came out for this?’ but it’s more interested in looking at what you’re left with.”

For 22-year-old Robbins, who deals mainly in portraiture, the lens is focused more on the subject than its followers. “Cara’s not looking so much at the culture but at the personalities they’re flocking to through her portraits of musicians,” said Groves. “I think she does a really playful job at showing the eccentricities of the band members and also capturing their engaging side.”

Meanwhile Tamiesie’s project, titled “Our Lady of the Rock,” looks at the hundreds of people who religiously flock to a site in Mojave, California, to catch a glimpse of the Virgin Mary. “In Stephen’s case, you’ve got these people driving out to the middle of the desert and coming together to see apparitions in the sky,” said Groves. “It’s a surreal experience, and he’s really captured it well.”

For a chance to catch all of these young, emerging talents together, head over to Gallery 27 (27 Cota St.) starting Thursday, February 7. An opening reception will be held 5-8 p.m. The show runs through March 29. Call (805) 690-4900 for info.


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