Week 9 | Artist Conversation: Carmina Carrea

This week, I viewed an exhibit titled “A Beach in Symmetry, A Breach in Symmetry” at the Max L. Gatov Gallery at Long Beach State. An exhibit that features the work of three different artists bringing their work together to illustrate one cohesive message, I was able to meet one of the three artists, a senior BFA sculpture student by the name of Carmina Correa. She produced two of the pieces within the exhibit, both untitled. Her works for this particular exhibit focus on explaining different voids that people may experience feeling, and trying to emulate these voids through her pieces.

The first piece that I had come across that Carrea created was a sculpture made completely of sugar. On top of a sort of pile of what appears to be granulated sugar are thin sheets of colored sugar stacked upon each other. Carrea explained how she was able to use a silicon mold in order to cast the sugar until it sets to her desired shape. It took Carrea an hour to make each piece that is stacked, but has to allocate an entire 24 hours straight to dedicate to making sure the sugar sets how she wants it to, meaning a lot of sleepless nights for this artist. She didn’t seem to mind the fact that she had to sacrifice her sleep for this piece of art, because to her, it’s not so much about what the product in the end is, as she has accepted that her end product is going to be what it is no matter what. The most important thing to the artist when concerning this piece is purely the process of creating it. Due to the fact that she is boiling the sugar 24/7, the artist also explained that she dissociates herself from the smell of sugar because she is around it so often.

Carrea’s second piece had been a wooden confessional booth. Very reminiscent of a Catholic confessional, Carrea had created a sort of box that one is able to walk into and find a place to kneel as well as a diamond-shaped cut out in one of the walls. When you look through this cut-out, you find different remnants of Carrea’s childhood, such as stuffed animals.

Going back to the main idea of emulating a void that artists find in their lives, the inspiration behind the first piece (Carrea refers to this as her sugar piece) comes from the fact that Carrea is a Type 2 Diabetic. At first, I found this idea very ironic, obviously. I understood the idea of what the exhibit name meant and how Carrea was trying to explain the emulation of a void so much more when she had revealed to me that she is a Type 2 Diabetic. The idea of a Type 2 Diabetic creating something completely out of sugar allows the artist to gain control of sugar, as they usually can’t. I love the idea of taking this void, illustrating and recognizing the fact that a void exists, and looking for ways to fill it.

This idea is also illustrated through the creation of the confessional booth. Carrea explained to me that as a Filipino-American, she was raised with a strong Catholic background. Because of this, Carrea spent some time within the Catholic church in actual confessional booths, which explains why the booth was constructed in the style that it was. Carrea had said that she built this confessional booth for herself, as a representation of comfort in that a “confession” does not need to be the daunting process that she remembers as a child. By filling her confessional booth with things that had comforted her throughout her life, she illustrates her idea that a “confession” can be anything from confiding in a friend to writing down how you’re feeling. In this sense, it fills the void that Carrea had experienced as a child in that she was searching for a comfort that confession was supposed to provide for her, and realized that she had always been able to find that comfort elsewhere.

I personally loved the idea of the entire exhibit. While I did appreciate the works of the other artists, I am very glad that I was able to talk with Carmina Carrea. The idea that there are certain voids that everyone has whether we realize them or not resonated with me a lot. I was also ale to heavily relate to Carrea’s experiences growing up in a Filipino-American home that was very much dominated by Christian-Catholic values. It had been hard sometimes growing up with such high expectations of committing to Catholic practices no matter how you felt about them personally. It was hard for me to understand why practices such as a receiving your communion and going to confession were so sacred, so important when they scared me as much as they did as a kid. Of course, I understand the importance of these practices and their meanings now that I’m older, but I was glad to see that someone had felt the same way that I did about it, and that someone had found at the very least an alternative. Because even though I understand these practices and their significance, it doesn’t necessarily take away from the fact that it is a daunting process. So I personally was very grateful for Carrea’s perspective.

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