A combination of prints, pictures and paintings from the private collection of UC Santa Cruz’s Dean of Arts David Yager awaits art enthusiasts at the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery. The gallery’s current show, entitled “Human Conditions,” features a variety of artists — among them Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus and Robert Mapplethorpe — and showcases different portrayals of human experiences.
Among the works on display are humorous Reagan-era references, eye-catching experimental pieces and a portrait drawn entirely with an artist’s thumbprints. Each work of art is also accompanied by a summary written by a member of the UCSC art department.
Yager accumulated his vast collection of artwork during his time working at the University of South Florida and at the University of Maryland.
Angelica Alamo, a Sesnon Gallery employee, said that the exhibit has received plenty of supportive feedback.
“A lot of people have had a positive response to the show,” Alamo said. “There are a wide variety of themes present in all of the pieces. My favorites are the photographs by Diane Arbus.”
Fourth-year art major Amanda Nazzal described the show as random.
“But that’s what the human condition is,” she said. “It’s random.”
Gallery curator Shelby Graham spoke enthusiastically about Yager’s accumulation of such a vast and diverse collection of artwork.
“This is really an incredible collection,” she said, pointing out images in which cadavers were used as models, and a pop-up book done entirely in silhouettes.
Graham discussed the wide selection of mixed media pieces represented in the art show, including etchings, photographs and lithographs.
“This is an opportunity for people to see a variety of examples of mixed media, and this collection is truly impressive,” Graham said.
The Sesnon Gallery also hosts panel discussions to encourage community involvement in events and to draw attention to the importance of the arts in the UCSC community. One discussion was held on Oct. 19 on the topic of art collecting. The next will focus on master print-makers and will be held Nov. 10.
The discussion panels facilitate knowledge of the arts, and the gallery employees hope to shed light on the printmaking process and what it entails.
“An exciting aspect of this exhibition involves the artistic process of image making and collaborations with limited edition prints,” Graham said.
Taking into account the overall positive response of gallery visitors, Sesnon employee Alamo said that “Human Conditions” may have set a new campus standard.
“People have commented on how this is one of the best exhibits they’ve seen at UCSC,” she said.
Human Conditions will be on display at the Sesnon Gallery through Nov. 20.