Joan Cox's oil painting "Love is Everything They Said it Would Be" will be featured in Cabrillo Gallery's latest exhibit.

APTOSCabrillo Gallery will open its first in-person exhibition of 2022 on Monday, with a show exploring the ways in which human beings see and express their own identities. 

“Who We Are: Portraying Identity” will feature 27 artworks, from paintings and photography to mixed media and textiles. Gallery Director Beverly Rayner said that the show’s range is vast, likely due to the complex nature of identities.

“There’s everything from really humorous stuff to really serious stuff,” Rayner said. “Some of it represents more of a cultural or group identity, others are about gender identity … So it’s very personal.”

Rayner said she had been thinking about doing a show based on this theme for a while.

“It’s been high on my list for a long time,” she said. “It’s a big topic. And it’s on people’s minds … We hope people [who visit] see themselves and feel represented, and also feel empathy for others, and their realities. Identity is so complex. There are so many ways you shape, or recognize your identity in the world.”

Added Program Coordinator Victoria May: “There are a lot of unusual pieces that might make people dig a little deeper. Identity can be a sort of narrative … What narratives do we hold, deny, or tell ourselves?”

“Who We Are: Portraying Identity” opens Monday at Cabrillo Gallery. —contributed photo

An open call for artists resulted in about 300 entries to choose from. Juror Pauli Ochi of Ochi Projects in Los Angeles made the selections. A virtual Juror’s Talk with Ochi will be held March 12 at 4pm.

“We chose Pauli to be the juror because her gallery represents a lot of artists who deal with the theme of identity,” said Rayner. “So we figured she’d be in tune with what we wanted to do.”

Both Rayner and May expressed how glad they were to be back in the gallery, seeing and experiencing art in person. 

“When we get the pieces in the mail, open them up … it’s like, ‘Wow!’” May said. “Certain art has so much more vibrance, textures … There’s such a different feeling, seeing these works in person.”

“Who We Are: Portraying Identity” will run through April 8. The gallery is located at Cabrillo College, 6500 Soquel Dr., in the Library building, Room 1002. Hours are Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm, and Wednesday and Thursday evenings 7–9pm.

Admission is free. Parking is available on public streets or paid in student/visitor lots. Guests must follow all of Cabrillo’s Covid-19 protocols.

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Reporter Johanna Miller grew up in Watsonville, attending local public schools and Cabrillo College before transferring to Pacific University Oregon to study Literature. She covers arts and culture, business, nonprofits and agriculture.


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