Miha Sarani wants to take viewers of his art on a journey. In his latest show “Trojan Soul,” now at Mission College’s Vargas Gallery, Sarani combines visual art with music to get his message across.
It begins with his protagonist Mr. V.U.Herr, or “viewer,” (as with all art, the pieces are about the viewer). V.U. Herr opens his golden eyes and creates his own existence. He makes a choice. He searches for a mentor, who in turn, is searching for a student. He is tempted throughout his travels – throughout the ages and eras in history. He sees the past, present, and future. At the end of his journey, after he has seen the ramifications of his decision, he is redeemed. He becomes the person who started the journey.
“It’s almost cartoony, or comic book-y,” said Sarani of the pieces, which are done primarily in black, white and gray. “They look more like drawings or illustrations versus paintings…I figured that if I did it in this style, people would look at it and say, ‘What am I really looking at? There has got to be more to it than these drawings, sketches. What is the real meaning of it?’ Hopefully people will ponder it a little more than they would if it was just a great painting. The reason I chose this very limited palette is because I thought it was very dramatic and I remember seeing this documentary where Orson Wells said everything looks better in black and white and I think it does – it enhances the performance…And that’s really the essence of this series. It’s…to bring out a lot of emotion.”
While he is willing to explain the details in his work and his reasons for his choices as an artist, Sarani wants the viewer to interpret the paintings how they see fit. He wants them to decide what the pieces and symbols mean to them. He evokes feelings and emotions with his color choices, titles, symbols and music, but the work isn’t about him. It’s about his audience.
Sarani, who studied under the Triton Museum of Art’s former executive director George Rivera at Mission College and is currently studying art at the University of Washington, is pleased with the outcome. “I feel that it represents what I wanted,” he said. “I’m happy with the way it turned out.”
The Vargas Gallery is open Monday-Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to noon and Saturday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Download the soundtrack at www.mihasarani.com, or bring a smartphone to the gallery and scan the QRS code at each painting to hear the musical accompaniment by Chel Strong and GodSpin.