Student art show fails to glow

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AFRAID OF THE DARK? - An untitled mushroom landscape is tucked into a speakerbox in the corner of Jackie Barrera's "Walk Into My Wonderland" show at the SWC Student Art Gallery. PHOTO BY April Abarrondo

AFRAID OF THE DARK? – An untitled mushroom landscape is tucked into a speakerbox in the corner of Jackie Barrera’s “Walk Into My Wonderland” show at the SWC Student Art Gallery. PHOTO BY April Abarrondo

Stepping into darkness was not the frightening part, what glowed was.

“Walk into my Wonders,” presented by student artist Jackie Barrera at the Southwestern College Student Art Gallery, showed promise but ultimately disappointed.

Its concept, glow-in-the-dark art, was intriguing, but failed to inspire and lacked consistency­­­. Street art, psychedelic-inspired pieces and installations with hardly any glow made it difficult to understand the work as a cohesive exhibit.

Passing through a fidgety tarp which failed to block out natural light­­, a gallery volunteer explained the show was “Alice in Wonderland inspired.” Instead of bringing clarity, this added confusion. Barrera’s execution was replete with cheap glow-in-the-dark paint more evocative of a tripped-out kid at EDC than Lewis Carroll.

A painting of Disney’s infamous smoking caterpillar and a mushroom installation were among her pieces, but the majority of her work veered from the theme. Two child-sized stuffed bears, the word “freedom” scattered about, and neon abstract paintings lacked substance and composition. Barrera’s exhibition felt like a disappointing acid trip.

A distorted shoe holding up a stuffed animal— the exhibit’s interactive piece­­—bore neon scribbled names and random doodles.

A cornerstone of her exhibit, the piece exemplified the themes of her show writ large: gaudy, disorganized and lacking quality.

Art enthusiasts might have left disappointed by this exhibit.

Fans of Alice in Wonderland might have been confused.

As for tripped-out EDC goers, they probably felt right at home.

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