This week I saw the joint work of Gerardo Pena and Kyle Kruse in the Merlino Art Gallery, 5620. This exhibition was very different from any other gallery I have seen this year, because of its laid back feel. I felt like I was in LA when I walked in the gallery- the floor was littered with trash and car bumpers, and the walls were covered in both graffiti, sculpture pieces, and drawing/printmaking pieces.
What I really liked about this gallery is that they didn’t have a formal artist’s statement like every other single show we’ve seen so far. On the wall, was simply “Take a look around!”, signatures from the artists, and a signature from the faculty supervisor.
To me, this really conveyed how laid back and relaxed the artists were. I saw their relaxed personalities even more when I made my way over to my table and heard them answer questions from us students. When you look at Pena and Kruse, you easily see their friendship and their “laissez-faire” personalities. Turns out though, they originally hated each other! They saw each other as rivals, but through many classes together, they saw how similar they really are. They shared with us that 5620, the name of their show, was the only identifiable number to the place they worked on all if their art in. (P.S.- it’s the door entrance code)
Pena told us that the green book we see littered on the floor is actually his test- he got a D and ripped it up. Both artists were really encouraging of hearing what we had to say about their art. All of the pieces in their shows took 3 months to make, and then it took about 15 hours to assemble everything in the Merlino Gallery. Both Kruse and Pena are getting their bachelors of art, Pena in Drawing and Painting, and Kruse in printmaking. I really enjoyed their art and wish them well in their ventures in getting their Masters.