Artist: May Ta
Exhibition: The Windows (2016)
Media: Digital media, ink jet printed, wooden frames
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dennis W. Dutzi Gallery
Website: None at this time.
About the Artist
May Ta is an Undergraduate student at CSULB, in the School of Arts Illustration/Animation Program. She likes to work with video and craft design aside from her illustrations. She said that when she is working on her art, she considers the point of view of both the subject and the observer (evident in The Windows).
The Windows consists of six white, wooden picture frames made to look like windows into six different people’s homes (complete with added white mullions at the top of each). The top left window has its left curtain closed part of the way, with a couple making love in the dark (the woman’s left side is illuminated).
The top right window has its curtains closed most of the way. A person’s torso is visible and their arms appear as if they are opening the curtains.
In the middle left window, the curtains are slightly closed. There is a boy standing in the window, with black hair, a white t-shirt, gray looking skin, and a solemn face; from the left and right appear two arms in front of his neck (most likely from a person on opposite sides). Each hand looks as if they are going to grab his neck: the left hand may be grabbing the boy’s neck, while the right hand is attempting to remove the hand.
The middle right window shows a framed picture of someone on brown wall (perpendicular to a beige wall) and a gray carpet.
The bottom left window shows the silhouette of a man and a woman sitting across from each other at a table, holding hands, against an orange wall.
Finally, the bottom right window shows a white vase filled with black flowers sitting on a white table. A person’s right hand is resting on the table, while their (or another person’s) silhouette is cast on the left-hand side of the wall behind them.
According to the Closer posted in the Gutzi Gallery by May Ta and Carly Lake, the pieces within the gallery, “[discuss] the persistent, universal desire for intimacy, while also acknowledging that we are always, ultimately alone. Being alone can feel like absolute presence yet so often takes on forms of isolation and emptiness. On the other hand, intimacy with another person can be either a hindrance or a pathway to finding yourself….This show’s setting is intended to embody the living quarters of a stranger, allowing the guest to seemingly enter the private space of another person.” The people depicted in The Windows are most likely not real, but rather made up for the purpose of the piece.
I truly like The Windows, but it is difficult for me to express why. For starters, I am legitimately impressed by the use of picture frames as windows; I am sure others have done this in the past (in hindsight, it is a rather simple idea), but when I saw The Windows I was blown away that I had never even thought about frames essentially being windows into the picture. I also find myself thinking about what it would be like to see others’ personal lives; not to creep on them or extort them, but just to see what others do when they think no one else can see them. There is an episode of BoJack Horseman where the titular character sits outside of his agent’s apartment at night (who is a mean, no-nonsense, dedicated and driven woman). He finds that at home, his agent is just a normal person: she lives alone; she looks sad and tired after a long day; she spills some of the dinner she is making for herself and curses in anger, then cleans it up and keeps cooking. Everyone has a side of themselves that no one ever sees because they only act this way alone. They let their guard down; they return to their default self because there is no one to act for. Obviously, I could never see someone else’s “true self” because unless I spied on them, I would have to be with them, which means they are not alone and therefore not their “true selves”. Regardless, I find the topic of one’s true self very interesting and thought-provoking, which made me love and appreciate The Windows even more.