2018 Winner: The Light Years

Project Information
The Light Years
Independent Study
The Light Years aims to capture the youth and passion that is so present and relevant in young painters. These painters are members within my community – our community. These artists have been pushed to the outskirts; overlooked with new technological advances that has overshadowed this intimate artistic community. These technological advances include the rise and growth of art that exists within the internet sphere, art that shines, and art that’s bright. This advancement is not wrong; it does however have the adverse effect of eclipsing painting, the art that Leonardo da Vinci praises as the highest form–greater even than writing.
Painting–one of the oldest, most traditional, historical, and rebellious forms of art, is different from other forms of art. It’s not photography, digital, nor prints on paper. It is irreplaceable and cannot be replicated. Painting relies less on language than writing or poetry, or that in a digital age of mass production and replications of images that you see in the mediums of photography and printmaking. Paintings are one-of-a-kind artworks that emerge from human experience, that provide an ulterior experience. Many from diverse backgrounds and experience gain a high value from paintings, through observance and thoughtful connection. Paintings have advantages, personal and communal, that other art forms cannot replicate. When a viewer sees a painting, their experience is unique to that of the next viewer; different than the painter who’s been painting for 30 years, or to the child dancing alongside Matisse’s Dance. In times of turmoil and anguish, people turn to art. Conversely, when people are happy, they also turn to art. Art is without equal, and painting is a strong medium that transverses all language and barriers.
Experience is the element that Da Vinci, Renaissance polymath and my classical inspiration, critically acclaimed as the highest action for a human to undergo, and paintings give viewers this opportunity. German painter Gerhard Richter says paintings are the highest form of hope. British painter Rose Wylie defines painting as an exciting concept, that’s difficult, exciting, and drives you through different processes. It pushes people forward through life. It drives society forward. These beloved, renowned artists are right, painting is the hope that humans are compelled to express, beyond language and far from despair. Painting is freedom, and human experience.
Through my own art practice, I explore the neglected, the meaning, and lifestyle of the modern, young student artist. This project documents the unrepresented folks in the current art world, especially within the department. It is hope and ambition. It is an engaged decision making process that drives and motivates. This project will capture the frustrations, joys, desires, growths – the process of individuation, of those in my community.
These paintings will be displayed at the window galleries near the end of the spring quarter, at the UCSC art department. These are visible gallery spaces located in key location for optimal viewing and observance. These paintings will bring purpose, and show the livelihood of painters, students, and demonstrate the relevance, – importance of painting.
Painting is a cherished art that is still very much a top contender in the arts. As our community progresses forward, and society gazes into the bright spectacle, paintings can bring us back to reflection, impression, and raise intimate hope.
  • Natalie Jauregui Ortiz (Porter)