Artist: Manyu Gao Exhibition: N/A Media: Oil painting Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West Website: None Instagram: manyugao
About the Artist
On September 7, 2016 I interviewed Manyu Gao who is an artist. She is currently a graduate student at California University of Long Beach to obtain a Master’s Degree in Art/Drawing and Painting. The program that she is in is the Drawing and Painting program. She decided to earn a degree in art because she wants to express herself, and art is the best way to do it.
She used oil painting to create the beautiful master piece. She used dark colors to make it dark outside. In addition, she uses shadows inside the diner. The painting gives off a dark and lonely setting for the girl eating fast food alone. The strokes of the painting look smooth, neat, and effortless from a third person’s point of view.
The painting that she created took place because she is currently taking 492 Z which is an upper division for her major. The professor asked the students to pick one of the sketches in their sketch book; she picked the sketch with a girl eating alone. Then from then on the students continued to work with that sketch to make it into perfection. The students and her worked on that sketch for many weeks. Until it was time to display it in the Gatov Gallery West. Overall, the process took a whole semester from beginning to end. In the end she created a girl eating McDonalds alone. She is eating the loneliness that surrounds her, but she hopes for someone to come, that hope will never come. The girl continues to sit and eat alone at night, yet continues to ponder. Why did the artist paint McDonalds? She decided to paint the French fries, sodas, and hamburgers because she wanted to express and focus on Western culture. Her experience here in California led her to paint food from here. The fast food that is shown in the painting looks delicious, yet I noticed that she left out the letter M that is supposed to be on the container of French fries. She left out the letter M on purpose because she did not want to advertise them. In addition to why she painted the fast food was because she was hungry. Since she is in California she thought about fast food because it is very common; unfortunately, fast food is unhealthy. At the very end the painting was left without a name.
When I found out that the painting was left without a name, I was shocked. How could she forget to name her work? I initially thought she totally forgot, but then I thought about it a little bit more. The painting shows a lonely girl and when people are alone they tend to feel invisible. Someone who is invisible cannot be seen or can be fading from existence, and that’s probably why there is no title. Moreover, it makes the painting even more beautiful because it is dark outside and darkness is a form of loneliness. Also, there are lots of shadows in the painting. The shadows are cascaded by the chair, food, and the girl. This expands the idea of the girl feeling lonely. Then, there is a reflection of the girl in the window, but it looks as if she is fading away. A girl eating a lot of junk food by herself is depressing especially at night. This art embraces the idea of loneliness in Western culture.
I took a picture of the assignment given by the professor that teaches 492 Z, but it came out blurry, so I deciphered.
Students who participated in the advanced level course Concentrated Studies in Life paining created body of work that emphasizes pictorial compassion. Over the course of one semester, they investigated methods of collecting visual information and explored the possibilities for expression through formal and special arrangements in their work. Students generated their own individual ideas by thoroughly researching potential subjects and continuously editing compositional studies that considered value distribution as well as color description. As a result, students discovered dynamic ways to use pictorial composition as another expressive too for value communication through painting.