The Escalette Permanent Collection of Art is very proud to introduce it’s three new Student Art Ambassadors: Alex Allen, Jessica Johnson, and Manon Wogahn.
After only one week on the job, they are already well on their way to becoming experts on the Escalette Collection, and they will be available to give tours of artwork on campus to any interested groups, classes, or individuals.
- Alex Allen is a junior transfer student, majoring in Art History. She got a head start working with the collection as a volunteer this past summer:
I have been working with the collection for about two months now and have enjoyed every minute of it. This has been a great opportunity to work hands on with a permanent collection of art.
There are so many dynamic pieces in the collection. My favorite is Edward Ruscha’s Pico and Sepulveda.
This simple composition shares a compelling piece of California’s history at the intersection of politics and power. I also have a personal connection to the piece, being from Los Angeles myself. Additionally, I have enjoyed researching the life and accomplishments of Albert Schweitzer as well as the photography of Joel D. Levinson for the exhibitions currently in Argyros Forum.
I’m curious to see how this collection and interest in it will develop as we host new exhibitions and tours and extend the reach of our ambassador program. I look forward to helping foster this interest over the coming year.
- Freshman, Jessica Johnson, is double-majoring in film studies and theatre studies. Her work with the collection perfectly complements her performing-arts education:
While the world of art is not a foreign concept to me, modern art is a relatively new experience in my life, and it’s the primary feature of the Escalette Collection. Because of this, I am constantly learning new things about this aesthetic, and am finding it not only interesting and valuable, but also creatively stimulating. There is something amazing about being surrounded by meaningful works made by hand for artistic purposes that is rare to find anywhere else. Art reveals much about the human condition, just as film and theatre do, and it’s why they all continue to be an essential part of world culture.
My favorite piece in the collection is Ellina Kevorkian’s Last Night My Tears Were Falling, I Went to Bed So Sad and Blue, and Then I Had a Dream of You.
I find this piece to be just as visually complex as its title. It hangs in the fourth floor of Beckman Hall, and is very hard to ignore. Kevorkian uses lace, stamps, glitter, spray paint, and so much more to make this piece come to life. The piece is messy, chaotic, and in many ways contrasting, yet comes together within the confines of the canvas to make something visibly spectacular. Even without the title, it is clear that the piece is telling a unique story, and is something that really appeals to my performing arts background.
I am looking forward to working in the Escalette Collection because every day will provide me with a new experience and will allow my artistic scope to grow, as well as share my new passion with others!
- Manon Wogahn, also a freshman, is majoring in Art History. Her one short week with the collection has already broadened her appreciation of contemporary art:
The Escalette Collection focuses primarily on contemporary art, a genre that I usually don’t understand or enjoy. Yet, as I explored pieces in the collection, I found myself growing to not only enjoy them, but become just as passionate about them as I do other types of art. In the past week, I’ve come to the conclusion that while the focus of other genres is the finished product, the most important aspect of modern art is in the making of it and the thought that goes into the process.
One of my favorite pieces in this collection is Vapor by Kris Chatterson.
If the sheer size of the piece isn’t impressive enough, the matching monstrous brush strokes are sure to make an impact. I love the contrast of the dark background with the yellow-teal swirls, a contrast that really does create an illusion of vapor floating in darkness. This piece reminds me of the swirling smoke that arises after blowing out a candle.
I also have enjoyed learning about Wayne White, whose mission is to “bring humor into fine art.” By looking just at the three paintings of his in the Escalette Collection, we can see his humor. He plays with large, blocky lettering, often painted over landscapes from thrift shops. His humor is in the phrases he paints and in the way he paints them, sometimes incorporated into the landscapes and sometimes incredibly out of place. Regardless of the piece, his past as a cartoonist and puppeteer is visible. His work is a blend of quality painting and comedic relief.
To schedule a tour with our Art Ambassadors, or to learn more about the art collections at Chapman University, please contact