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Artist Breathes Life into Dreams

By Ashley Bowden
Arts & Entertainment Editor

A well-practiced artist can make even the most abstract idea tangible to the real world, from an owl with a dog’s eyes to floating tree branches, senior art education major Diana Roldan did just that. Her exhibition, “Realm of Dreams,” combined multiple pieces in varying media, from ceramic sculptures to photography. The visual artist immersed the S.A.L Gallery in a vivid world of color from April 3-7. “It’s a reflection of folklore stories from my childhood and inspirations that I’ve had,” Roldan said, “All of it reflects to my life.”

Photo by Ashley Bowden
Diana Roldan senior art education major

Various pictures lined the walls, including acrylic paintings, photographs, and paper collages. “There’s a narrative in each painting that lets you into their world, into the ‘realm of dreams,’” Roldan said. The pieces showcase specific environments and textures that would be apparent in a dream, in order to give viewers the sensation of existing in that world. One photograph features a close up shot of tree bark, while a silk screen print details broken branches that appear to be floating in space.

A self portrait depicts Roldan as part of her dream realm. “I paintedmy face as realistic, but once you go towards my neck it’s faded out, so I am relaxed and being a part of the environment.” The piece is called “Euphoria,” a name Roldan has bestowed upon numerous elements throughout her career as an artist, such as her social media handles. “It’s something that I have connected with, this state of being happy,” she said. Peace, calmness and coexistence lie at the root of Roldan’s artwork. She uses her art to represent “being free from the stresses of life.”

Photo by Ashley Bowden
Roldan’s art was featured in the SAL Gallery

Every sculpture Roldan featured was hand-coiled, a process used in pottery that allows the sculptor to build outward or inward with less danger of the project collapsing. “I wanted to represent different elements within our earth,” she said. Roldan interpreted herself through a vase with craters, a representation of the moon. Her first name, Diana, is reminiscent of the moon goddess in Roman mythology. Another vase represents water. “The tide is travelling up, as if you’re being consumed by something,” Roldan said.

Her two-year process of creating the exhibition has been fun, successful and empowering. Her primary medium is clay, but she branched out to express herself in various other forms of visual art. “I learned things about myself that I didn’t think that I could do,” she said. Some of these things include patience and her ability to go into detail in her work. “Clay has been a part of me since I was nine, so I’m excited to
see what happens to me as I get older and continue to work with these [other media].”

Photo by Ashley Bowden
One of Roldan’s favorite pieces featured in the gallery

Sarah Schapira, ‘17, met Roldan as a teacher’s assistant in the campus ceramics studio. “She’s very thoughtful, and [her process is] very detail-oriented without the need to be hyper-realistic,” Schapira said. Roldan immortalized the spirits of her past and current pets, such as her dog “Toki,” within ceramic sculptures such as an owl, a fox, a rabbit, and a dragon. “She looks more for the feeling of what the animal’s representing than what the animal actually looks like,” Schapira said. For many ofher sculptures, Roldan used wax instead of a glaze finish to give them amore realistic texture.

It’s been a difficult yet empowering transition from molding a 3-dimensional object from clay to creating a similar sense of depth within a picture. “When it comes to paintings or drawings, you have to really have skill with shading to create these different values,” Roldan said. She reflected back on pieces she made as a child and challenged herself to further develop or recreate them since they all connect to her personally.

“Art is everywhere. The things that we wear, the things that we see, the buildings; everything was made from art,” Roldan said, “The importance of art is everything.” View more of Roldan’s work on her Instagram @Euphoria524.

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