When you enter the Packard building at the northwest corner of Long Beach Blvd. and Anaheim St., there is a merging of past and future. The building, a historic property built in 1926, served as an ornate showroom for popular cars and is now a creative office space and is available for art exhibitions and events. The temporary walls are left raw and unfinished and set the stage for UNPACKED at the Packard – an exhibition of the Arts Council for Long Beach’s 2015–2016 Professional Artist Fellows, opening Saturday, November 5, from 6­–9 p.m.

The exhibition features five professional, Long Beach-based artists whose work exemplifies artistic merit and professional achievement. The fellows are Gary Alvarez, Connie DK Lane, Christine Nguyen, Lara Odell and Ramon Rodriguez. Arts Council Executive Director Griselda Suarez said, “This exhibition demonstrates the strong cultural expressions we have in Long Beach. Our fellows use identity to springboard into an aesthetic analysis of life.”

To “unpack” is to remove the contents of a package, but it is also the act of analysis through detailed examination. Marco Schindelmann, former Arts Council president, along with co-curator and FLOOD President Kamran Assadi, created the show’s title. Schindelmann remarks, “Among other things, we are seeking commonality between the five artists and the commanding space in which their work will be exhibited.”

Gary Alvarez unpacks his identity through his films and examines his working-class, bi-cultural/bilingual, first-generation American experience. His films, such as A Good Man and Loncheros, aim to tell thought-provoking and socially conscious stories influenced by his experiences.

Connie DK Lane unpacks time through her large-scale sculptures inspired by her memories growing up in Hong Kong. She uses unique materials like shredded paper pulp, decomposed coffee grounds, wax, roofing cement and latex rubber and often suspends her sculptures from the ceiling with meat hooks.

Christine Nguyen unpacks nature by collecting, examining and recreating it. Her work often combines drawing and photography and employs the cyanotype process – a 19th-century photographic technique that uses the sun to expose paper and water to develop it.

Lara Odell unpacks her anxiety through intimate gouache and paper cut-out illustrations. The cut-outs are labor-intensive and address the fragility of identity through the process, form and color.

Ramon Rodriguez unpacks duality through his memories growing up in a tiny isolated village in Bolivia and living the last 10 years in Long Beach. Through traditional painting and sculpture, he explores the duality of the countryside and the city.

UNPACKED at the Packard is curated by Long Beach artist group FLOOD Inc. and is a project of the Arts Council for Long Beach in collaboration with Millworks. The exhibition will be on view at the Packard Building (205 E. Anaheim St.) through December 12. For more information, visit www.artslb.org/news or email info@artslb.org.

Exhibition Hours:
Wednesday–Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Closed November 11, 12 and 23–26

Upcoming Events at the Packard:
Open Conversations
Wednesday, November 30, 5–7 p.m.

Grantee Reception
Monday, December 12, 5–7 p.m.