Everett Babcock, Lorena Ochoa and Angel King made abstract sculptures out of wooden sticks, hot-pink foam and gray yarn for their latest art show.
“Dyed In The Wool,” which is composed entirely of abstract sculptural pieces and paintings, opened Nov. 30 in Broad Art Center 1140 and will close Dec. 12. The third-year art students transferred to UCLA in the fall, and said they found inspiration for their art show while balancing their newfound artistic freedom and the challenging social landscape.
“Out of necessity we came together, and we developed this meaningful friendship that offers a safety net and inspiration,” King said.
In preparation for the show, the three exchanged personal belongings such as their childhood toys and parents’ clothing. After sharing the intimate stories that came with the items, they then used each other’s pieces to build sculptures that they deemed representative of their respective friends, King said. They are also showcasing their own pieces focused on their upbringings and cultural identities.
One of the pieces King is displaying, titled “House Arrest,” was inspired by a story that Babcock shared, involving the house arrest of Babcock’s brother who was sentenced to prison for 45 years to life. King’s piece features three wooden sticks pointing diagonally upward to form a triangle, with branches woven together by twine. The sculpture also uses watches and T-shirts – personal objects that all belonged to Babcock. King said the objects symbolize time and nostalgia while referencing Babcock’s childhood and upbringing.
“I wanted to create an imagery that represents (Babcock’s) feelings towards his brother’s arrest and later the new pressure from inheriting (his late father’s) home,” King said.
Another piece by Ochoa, with the same name as the gallery, includes imagery of classic Latinx culture, such as plaster molds of pan dulce and a sculpture of a hot-pink Virgin Mary on an altar with vinyl-tile flooring, which she said represents her Latinx upbringing. King said that as Ochoa cut out the Virgin Mary from foam using her childhood memory of what the religious icon looked like, the specific details had become blurry, resulting in the sculpture facing the wrong way and having incorrect hand gestures – a commentary on remembering what it was like growing up in her culture.
All three worked on the largest piece in the art show – an untitled mashup of various mediums that sits in the back of the exhibit room. The three scratched out the name of the piece to capture the chaotic nature of the sculpture, King said. The center component of the art piece features a collage of Babcock’s abstract sculptures from Long Beach City College.
The sculpture originally began as Babcock’s own piece, but Ochoa and King began contributing after Babcock suggested the friend group collaborate on the project. Ochoa helped expand the piece by extending rolls of yarn through the structure – placing it over a desk, under wires and throughout the entire exhibit room. King said by tightening everything, from the yarn to the strings, the artists created a space in which objects cannot enter or exit, therefore trapping each object within a spiderweb-like design.
King said the artists went into the project with a focus on collaboration, resulting in the mashup of various mediums. However, she added they didn’t have a specific meaning in mind. As they finished putting everyone’s contribution together, they realized the meaning came from the making, she said.
During her seven years at Long Beach City College, King became close friends with Babcock through various sculpture classes they took together. And Babcock said the two developed a close bond over their passions for sculpture.
“As I got to know her, she has some naive qualities, but very wise,” Babcock said. “She is like a sister, a really good friend that I don’t think I will ever lose.”
After meeting Ochoa during their transfer orientation day and working together on the art show, King said her and Babcock’s friendship became even stronger. Now at UCLA, Ochoa said the trio are excited to try new artistic endeavors at UCLA, yet are simultaneously frustrated by their limited time as transfer students. However, their frustration also made them appreciate their friendship, which they explored through their art, even more.
“I’ve found the people (at UCLA) very accepting, but everyone is very focused on what they are doing. It’s hard to make connections with people when everyone is working so hard,” Ochoa said. “With (King) and (Babcock), we developed our own community, and being all sculptors, we all speak each other’s language.”