Through Feb. 15 — Napa Hall exhibit reveals a “Playing with Toys” retrospective along with Chibis, tryptichs and very casual relationships

January 1, 2018

Courtesy photo.

CAMARILLO — Action figures have long been Los Angeles artist Larry Lytle’s muse. The CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI) Art/Photography Lecturer will be showing a 17-year retrospective of his work in Napa Hall entitled “Playing with Toys, a 17-year Retrospective.”

“This is a 17-year overview of how I have used toys in my work to create social and political commentary,” Lytle said.

Lytle’s collection will be part of a four-artist show that will run through Feb. 15 with an opening from 6 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 8 at Napa Hall on campus.

Along with Lytle’s show, Los Angeles photographer Chris Cormack’s show, “Poems, a series of photographic triptychs,” will fill the Napa main gallery.

The CI Grad Walls will feature a whimsical set of digital art prints depicting famous people as Japanese “Chibis,” and an edgy collection of digital prints exploring very casual dating.

Lytle’s style was inspired by his work as a commercial photographer at a Thousand Oaks toy company called Sideshow Collectibles that makes high-end action figures largely based on TV or film characters.

“Their designers had invented an articulated body for 12-inch action figures that could be bent into just about any position,” he said. “In working with these figures to create scenarios for their advertisements, I realized I could use these lifelike ‘people’ to make the tableau-based work I had been begging my friends to pose for the previous decade.”

Cormack’s show is a series of photographic “triptychs,” which is a series of three photos on three side-by-side panels. All three are linked with a common theme, composition or design.

Courtesy photo.

“Chris goes out through the city (of Los Angeles) and looks at forms and shapes and tries to find images that have a poetic flow,” said Lytle, who curated Cormack’s show.

Alumnus Andrea Mendoza, who graduated in 2017, is exploring how any type of “no strings attached” encounter with a male affected future relationships. She created her digital prints to resemble Mexican bingo cards or “loteria” cards.

“I created this series for people not only to express their hurt and discomfort, but to help them move on,” said Mendoza, who interviewed friends for her series.

Sylvia Rubio, who graduates in spring of 2018, has transformed recognizable characters or celebrities, from Bride of Frankenstein to the Beatles to Ice Cube, into Japanese “Chibis.”

“‘Chibis’ are a Japanese slang word describing something short or small,” Rubio said. “What I really enjoy out of this series is seeing people point out who is who based on well-known characteristics, even though they were altered. It made me realize how outfits and expressions can really be a big part of a person’s personality.”

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About California State University Channel Islands: CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CSUCI’s strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master’s degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CSUCI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more by visiting CSUCI’s Social Media.


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