Artist: Carly Lake and May Ta

Exhibition: Closer

Media: Mixed Media, Paintings, Illustrations, Sculptures

Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dennis W. Dutzi Gallery

Website: In Progress

Instagram: @maypta


About the Artist

This week I had the pleasure of enjoying the exhibition, Closer, created by Carly Lake and May Ta. Carly Lake was busy but May Ta was a pleasure to talk to this week. May Ta is a CSULB senior year undergraduate pursuing her BFA degree in the School of Art’s Illustration Program. May Ta had a difficult time gaining support from her family back in Vietnam once she had decided she wanted to pursue Art rather than a STEM field, which her family had hoped for. After surpassing that struggle, she has been doing art and is excited to have a piece in the CSULB School of Art Galleries where everyone can enjoy her art.

Formal Analysis

This exhibition was a mixture of paintings and sculptures and paintings displayed as if it were someone’s room. As you walked from one side of the room to another, you realize that each piece is very different to the next, however, they all seem to fit perfectly into place. Each piece was light and delicate and the entire exhibit had a cozy feel to it. There were personal items in the room including a mattress, a chair and an easel that added to the mood in the room-it definitely felt personalized.

Content Analysis

Carly Lake and May Ta worked closely on the entire exhibition and they were able to combine many separate ideas into one concept. Ms. Ta explained that human as individuals are lonely but crave intimacy and a connection with another person. She also mentioned that there are connections that are intimate between a limited amount of people but we also crave connection to the rest of the world-which is displayed toward the opposite end of the room. The fact that the room felt home-y and personal added to the concept of the exhibition since we were invading their space, but because the person was gone and only their shoes were present on the chair then it made it okay for us to walk around and view how their ‘room’ was displayed. Ta mentioned that Lake and herself aimed to portray the room of a person who was lonely but demonstrated intimacy through the paintings hung on his walls.


I had almost skipped this exhibit completely, however, I am so happy that I was able to experience it. At first, I was able to see all the paintings fit together aesthetically but after speaking to May Ta, I completely understood what the message behind this exhibit was and I thought it was beautiful. My favorite part of the exhibit was the blanket made of love letters on top of the mattress on the floor. Above, were illustrations and paintings that had a very intimate feel between the subjects on the illustration/painting. As previously stated on my ‘Landscapes with a Corpse’ blog post, I mentioned that I recently went through a break up and seeing this piece made me want to cry right in front of Ms. Ta. There is nothing more intimate than sharing a bed with someone and talking until one of you falls asleep. It’s where you can cry, laugh, watch movies, etc. My ex-boyfriend and I lived together hence we shared a bed together and seeing all those love letters that made up the blanket laying delicately on top of the mattress reminded me of all the conversations that took place on our bed at the end of the day or on a lazy Sunday morning. It was so beautiful to me and I felt like I related to the piece heavily. The love letters were actually Ms. Lake’s and her three year boyfriend’s and that made it even more intimate. The paintings also tied in the intimacy because they all had subjects that were sharing simple but significant signs of intimacy such as holding hands or hugging. This is definitely one of my favorite exhibits so far. I feel that humans long for a deep connection with someone and that is why intimacy is so beautiful and special and this piece sure conveyed that.