At the opening reception of “Presence: Ran Adler” at the Wasmer Art Gallery of the FGCU at the end of January, gallery assistant Marcela Pulgarin explained the process of sewing hundreds of mahogany pods for the enormous “Kimono” piece suspended from a large bamboo. culm.
She grabbed the sleeve to open the kimono and show the seams, and her mate audibly gasped.
“My blood and sweat is in this room,” Pulgarin said, laughing at the thought that she was not allowed to touch the museum gallery room.
“In the past, FGCU students have helped a number of artists prepare exhibitions, but this has been the most in-depth role that an FGCU gallery assistant has played in helping an artist,” he said. said the director of the art gallery, John Loscuito.
“When we started talking about the exhibition with Ran, it was clear that the scale of the artwork he was offering would require additional help to complete them,” Loscuito added. “Since most of the parts were new, the simple job of processing the materials was intimidating. “
Pulgarin had worked on other exhibitions in the Wasmer Gallery, and Loscuito knew she was passionate and dedicated to the process of preparing for an exhibition.
“Ran Adler has been a leading artist in Naples for quite some time, consistently doing beautiful and thoughtful work,” Loscuito said of how Adler was chosen as a guest artist exhibiting at the Wasmer Gallery, where his work will be on display until February 27. “I was curious to see his work in a larger space as a solo installation, and I was confident that he would introduce new materials and ideas to our students and our community. “
“I’ve learned a lot in my creative life, and I think that’s also how Marcela saw it,” Adler said. “The university is very generous and it’s a great honor to have this show, but also to have Marcela working alongside me.
Immigrant artists face challenges
Twelve years ago, Pulgarin emigrated from Colombia at the age of 18. A first generation student, she is preparing for her bachelor’s degree in art. In addition to helping Adler with this ongoing exhibition, Pulgarin has assisted with the installation of all guest artists since she started working at the gallery in the spring of 2019. In the fall of 2019, which included the first exhibition investigation into the work of Mexican artist Enrique Chagoya in Florida for “Everyone is an Alienígeno”.
“I came here when I was 18 and will always be Colombian, but I’m an American citizen and I’m interested in how other immigrant artists face this dilemma and stay genuine,” Pulgarin said.
Working on “Presence: Ran Adler”, Pulgarin described Adler as calm and organized, and his studio as a very peaceful and calming environment. “We couldn’t have rushed into what we were doing in a place like this,” she said. “And his job demands it. This environment he created engages your senses, so when we were working with sea grapes I was more aware of their fresh smell and how they colored my fingers.
Loscuito added, “Adler pointed out to me early on that his way of working required space to think without stress or anxiety, and I was delighted that Pulgarin had embraced him as well and maintained that spirit throughout the process. . Every step of the way, the two of them became more excited about the possibilities, so it seemed like a good choice. “
“On the kimono, it was hours and hours of sitting across from each other and tying up,” Adler said. “Some of the work is very meditative, but she was also there to learn, so we talked a lot. “
Pulgarin was grateful to Adler for wanting to answer all of his questions throughout the process. “I know I grew up as an artist because I saw his process and how he offered solutions,” she said.
See the commercial side of art
In addition to working as a gallery assistant at the Wasmer Gallery, Pulgarin runs art workshops at Vino’s Picasso and has a job in a copy store. His ultimate goal would be to make a living from art. “I want to collapse, burn and fail in art before I take on another job,” Pulgarin said. “We romanticize art, but it’s still a business.”
“This lesson arose out of his curiosity,” Adler said. “We worked in the downtown studio where a lot of my art is located, and it’s very public. There was business there, and it was an unfamiliar environment for him. She adapted immediately.
Past collaborations of gallery assistants and artists have allowed students to learn more about the craft of an artist, including selling works, networking and talking about their works. Pulgarin noted that Adler was willing to share advice from her own journey as a successful artist and answered questions she had about pricing and marketing. In Adler’s studio, Pulgarin was able to network with his clients and other artists.
“We were hoping that Marcela would learn all of these things, but also be engaged in the creative process and the preparation of the work itself. It was an opportunity for a student to really learn the practice of an artist’s studio by going to the studio every week and having hands-on experience every step of the way of creating the work of art, ”said declared Loscuito.
“The pieces are big and breathtaking,” Pulgarin said, “but the process for me is the impressive part.”
Pulgarin would advise each student to participate in an internship. “You don’t get these experiences without working with someone who does what you want to do. “
Adler would agree with this advice. “I always found someone I wanted to learn from, and I would work with them for next to nothing, just to learn,” he said. “There was mutual respect there, and I felt a loss at the end of the term. I was so used to having it.
Students travel to see the best
In 2018, Pulgarin and a group of FGCU students traveled to Art Basel in Miami, thanks to a grant from the Seidler Fund. In the summer of 2019, Pulgarin was also one of nine FGCU students to take a scholarship-funded trip to New York to visit museums including the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American. Art and the Shed at Hudson Yards, which opened in April 2019.
“When we do art, we have something to say that is so overwhelming that we have to put it in 2D or 3D,” Pulgarin said. She added that she takes inspiration from other artists, her classmates, her moods and states of mind.
His favorite works on the FGCU campus include the Romero Britto piece in front of the gallery and the Sanctuary sculptures, which are lightly hidden among the nature trails of the campus. Gallery assistants are responsible for periodically cleaning up public art on campus, so Pulgarin got his hands on these pieces as well as Adler’s creations.
Suspended from the ceiling on a bamboo rod serving as a large hanger, Adler’s “kimono” swayed slightly after Pulgarin opened it to show the hemp stitching at the show’s opening reception. She explained to her companion that the thatch came from the FGCU food forest and that the mahogany pods all came from the region. As they walked over to “All is in Prayer,” where Pulgarin explained that working with the sea grapes had stained her fingers for several days, another woman approached “Kimono” and shyly stroked them. mahogany pods before taking a mischievous glance around them.
“Art that has an idea behind it drives me to create,” Pulgarin said, as “Kimono” gently swayed from the ceiling.
Tags: art, fgcu, florida gulf coast university, couru adler, Wasmer Art Gallery