Imagination runs rampant at Make-Believe art exhibit

Story by Noah Lopez
Photos by students in COMM 1316 News Photography

Colored fabrics of all kinds of patterns hang from the walls, along with random household items, and it is all surrounded by gold-framed traditional portraits. 

At the new exhibit “Make-Believe” by Sophia Villalobos, all the colorful fabric pieces are on display. The exhibit is open through September 29 at the South Plains College Fine Arts building.  

Colors and patterns are everywhere and pieces of what look like random household items, including an ironing board and a hairbrush, hang on the walls.  

“I’ve never seen something like this here. It’s eye-catching with the clothes and everything, fabric all around. It’s something I’ve never seen before,” said Andrew Angelo, a student at SPC. 

Photo by Noah Lopez

The exhibit is in the middle of the room, and the colorful and patterned fabrics are surrounded by classical art. 

“I’m not a very big person into art, but when I walked in it was colorful. I like seeing colors. I like colorful things,” said Trista Stanley, a student at SPC. 

Photo by Noah Lopez

Kristy Kristinek, assistant professor of fine arts and gallery director said, the main gallery is unique because there are moveable walls, which allow the artist to be creative. The exhibit is also surrounded by the Merriweather Post collection, a permanent collection. 

“It’s almost like you get to experience art history and contemporary art at the same time,” Kristinek said. “It has this like big city feel of a gallery here in West Texas, which is pretty cool.”  

It’s not uncommon for an artist to visit a space and get inspired and the “Make-Believe” exhibit is no exception.  

“I have always loved going to various museums and galleries but at times those spaces can seem cold and disconnected,” Villalobos said. “It was important for me to build a fun, whimsical exhibit within gallery walls housing such historical and traditional works of art. I used fabrics and wearable art hanging throughout the exhibit and found items or salvaged bead sculptures to give a glimpse into my story. [It’s] a textile collage utilizing various threads, fabric and found or collected treasures.”  

Some items featured are from the artist’s father, which have a nostalgic feeling. 

“This almost memory box type of feel, is kind of what I got from this,” said Kristinek. 

Photo by Esosa Iyengunmwena

The walls are arranged in a way that creates a small room inside of the gallery, Kristinek compares the room to the layout of a house. 

“I love that idea of collection and found objects and how differently this particularly sculpted installative space reads in parallel to the solid fabric area to the right,” Kristinek said. “It kind of provides this nice pause in between the two walls, it’s almost like you’re going through a house at the same time entering into different rooms, which is pretty cool.”  

Photo by Isosa Iyengunmwena

Hanging in between two of the walls are three fabric art pieces with embroidery, and behind them framed works from the permanent collection. 

“She’s making commentary on the notion of what is art, what is not art, right?  We have the traditional approach of the Post collection that’s in here with gold frames, the lighting and all the things, but then you might have a collection like this that’s very, kind of ‘shrine-oriented’ in your house that you don’t necessarily consider art,” Kristinek said. 

Everyday household items can be found in the exhibit, things that not everyone would technically consider art. 

“Traditional objects in the home can turn into something totally different when you have a purpose and idea in mind,” Kristinek said. 

Photo by Isabela Salas

Kristinek said that Villalobos explored the boundaries of space on some of their pieces and that it probably comes from their fashion background. 

“It kind of plays with the space a little bit more. And I think that comes from her element of fashion design and how that works on the body as it can go beyond what you’re physically wearing and exist outside the edge of the space,” Kristinek said. 

Kristinek says that the artist, Villalobos, is challenging people to view art in more than just a traditional way. 

“Its kind of the hierarchy or umbrella of art is for everyone. It’s around us all the time,” Kristinek said. 

One framed piece at the entrance to the right of the “Make-Believe” exhibit looks like a toy chest on the wall with various toys and colors. 

“I hope when people see the exhibit their inner child is inspired. Inspired to make believe and inspired to make and to believe in ourselves. I really hope the exhibit makes people smile,” Villalobos said. 

Villalobos shares how “Playful Heart” was a product of nostalgia, when they noticed a similarity in creations out of salvaged material from her father and what she does for her children.  

“There’s something comforting in nostalgia. Fun bits and pieces can spark the imagination, an idea or a conversation. So playful heart is an ode to my father and his mother whom I said was my grandmother that played,” Villalobos said. She instilled the idea of play and imagination in a very, unique and simple way. We played hide and seek, painted acorn families and took lots of nature walks,” 

Kristinek says Lavender Fields is her favorite because it stands out amongst the others. 

“This particular 2D shifting into 3D area piece, really spoke like something she would have on her body, which I loved, it looked almost like a self-portrait of Sophia as a person, and I really enjoyed that.,” Kristinek said.  

Photo by Isabela Salas

Words are not always the only way to tell one’s story, the exhibit “Make-Believe” tells the story of the artist in her own view. 

The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. through September 29. Kristinek says that the next installment can be expected on October 6.  

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