Ryan Chartrand

Death and loss are tough things to deal with no matter who you are. While some people cry, shut off or just carry on, there are a few who can capture pain and loss through art, allowing others a glimpse into the world they see and a chance to get their heads around a tangible concept.

Beginning tonight from 6 to 9 p.m., the public will be given this chance as four Cal Poly art and design seniors display their work in a show titled “Lacrimae Rerum” (Latin for “tears for things”) at the Bear Valley Center, located at 12320 Los Osos Valley Rd.

“All of our works have a common theme that we share,” said Jeff Chang, whose graphic novel is featured in the show. “They have a lot to do with transition and passing, and it’s often a story about people who we’ve lost, and about the passing through life.”

The gallery will be filled with works ranging from large-scale paintings to ceramic installations that can be seen hanging from the ceiling, lining the walls and on podiums throughout the room.

Though very different on the outside, each unique piece adheres to the general theme of loss, whether it is covert or blatant, and each showcases the talents and skills of the artists to convey greater meaning through their various mediums.

“The show touches on current events and human emotions,” Chang said. “I think there will definitely be a different take on these things that people will take away and hopefully enjoy in the end.”

Steven Whitehair will display an 8-by-6 foot painting along with other works, and says his art ties in with the theme because it deals with dreams and darker imagery.

By showing his ceramic installations, Kevin Spach hopes to kindle an appreciation for the medium among viewers.

“Maybe it will turn people around to pottery and it will be more accepted as a gallery thing and not just as a craft,” he said.

Pages of Chang’s graphic novel “The Last Wake” will be mounted on the walls. His novel chronicles the story of a man whose girlfriend is kidnapped and murdered, and the way he deals with the suffering from her loss.

Addressing less of the sadness associated with death and more the concept in general, Paradise Osorio’s mixed media art focuses on the study of death and the human reaction to it.

The evening, which is part of the students’ senior projects, will feature wine and music and is free to the public. The display is open from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday as well.

“I think it’s important for Cal Poly students to come because the school is really known for engineering – liberal arts is there, but it’s not very pronounced,” Chang said. “Hopefully they’ll enjoy the fact that there is more to Cal Poly, and it will make them even more proud that they go here.”

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