By definition, an apparat is an existing power structure, but The Apparat in Bakersfield is something a bit different. A collective of recent Cal State Bakersfield art grads, the group heads to its alma mater's Todd Madigan Gallery for a show opening Thursday.
The Apparat's four artists -- Emily Becerra, Karen Dever, Andrew Hawley and Adam Schwartz -- differ in style but are unified by a common artistic goal.
"The biggest thing that we all have in common is that we like to experiment with things," Hawley said. "The result of that experimentation is art. That is why we do well together, that bond dealing with experiments."
The group had its first show last June at the Padre Hotel's Prospect Lounge, presenting a mix of photography, painting and video along with a fifth member, Tommy Charmley, who was unable to participate in the new show.
"We were very happy with our show in June," Becerra said in an email. "We felt that having our show at the Padre was a great way to get exposed to a wide audience."
Becerra said the group meets several times a month to discuss their work and to plan future exhibitions. Work started on what was to become "Reflexion" last summer.
"We began planning our next show shortly after our first (exhibit) last June. We learned in school that it's best to steadily exhibit our work so that it is fresh in the minds of our audience."
Because their artistic styles are so different, the group didn't design this show around a theme -- although one emerged upon review.
"Through our monthly meetings we realized that the work we were making as individuals did in fact have a common thread: reflection," Becerra said. "The word reflect can be used as a noun or a verb. ... The physical act of reflection of light and the notion of reflection as a thinking process are common themes in this exhibition".
Hawley said he has used documentary-style photography for a personal series of photos revisiting places and toys from his youth. He said Becerra's work depicts while Schwartz offers a reflection of sorts as a self-portrait. And Dever implements a unique technique for her pieces.
"Karen is taking objects -- she's very secretive about her work -- reflection of objects onto light-sensitive paper for photograms."
Becerra said there will be about 25 works in the exhibit, a mix of photographs, photograms, paintings and her video installation that complement each other.
Along with being Cal State alumni, Hawley, Becerra and Schwartz also work together at the Bakersfield Museum of Art.
"The museum provides an incredible and creative environment in which we get to learn about the exhibition process," Becerra said.
Once this show ends, the four will already be hard at work on new pieces and making plans.
"We're definitely always looking into another show, maybe by the end of the year or the beginning of next year," Hawley said. "We always have a show in our heads. That keeps us working."
"Reflexion" will be on display through April 26 at the gallery, which is on the northwest side of the CSUB campus, next to the Dore Theatre.