By Stori Long
Art has the ability to breed empathy, understanding and sympathy in viewers. People are able to, in a way, experience things they have never experienced before.
A Baylor student opened his work to the public in “Lost Innocence Dreamscape,” a solo art exhibition, on Thursday.
Through his exhibit, Wichita Falls senior Colton Canava takes the viewer on a chilling journey through the mind of a young girl coping with abuse.
“My work is an expression of some of my own experiences as well as the experiences of others,” Canava said. “You may not know exactly how someone feels because our experiences are different, but you can understand and share emotions and relate through those.’
Canova cites the experience of his family and people around him as inspiration for this exhibit.
“I have several family members that experienced abuse as children,” Canova said. “I also have a niece who’s 4 years old whose mother neglected her and so she was sent to live with her father. This exhibit somewhat reflects my fear of what could happen to her because she’s far away and alone and there’s nothing I can do.”
The exhibit tracks the experience of the girl depicted in the paintings in different ways. Conova fuses psychology with his art by reflecting the landscape of the girl’s mind and how she copes with the abuse.
“When I decided to do this, I really wanted to re-evaluate what lost innocence meant to me,” Canava said. “I really wanted to focus on the psychology of it more than just the image of it. I did a lot of research for it. I read books and poetry on depression, suicide, rape and abuse, just so I could understand what happens to someone when this happens.”
Canava beautifully weaves between the world of reality and what exists in the mind. In dealing with such content, Canava said it was important to prepare.
“The exhibit tells an entire story,” Canava said. “But each painting could also stand on its own”
Canava also said he intentionally avoided highly graphic scenes.
“I like showing action in painting, but I like it to be hidden to a certain extent,” Canava said, “and not unnecessarily graphic. I think often the implied action is just as power, if not more, then actually seeing it happen.”
Canava uses colors, dimensions and placement to provoke emotion and draw attention in the painting.
Fort Worth senior Kristin Oca attended the exhibition.
“I like his use of color in the painting and also his use of texture. It’s as if it’s popping out at you,” Oca said. “It is really raising awareness for violence. It’s like watching a movie.”
As the story goes on, the girl begins to reconcile reality with the way her mind copes with the abuse.
“It ends very raw and harsh,” Canava said. “It’s a moment of realization for her.”
Canava very much views this exhibit as a documentary. He has no agenda or even a major point. rather, he wishes to document one instant in the life of one girl who suffered one event of abuse in her life.