by Galeria1204 + MAD54

Mexican emerging curators Lorena Ramos and Aida Valdez have collaborated to present Pásele Pásele!, a 19 multidisciplinary artist clad conversation around contemporary embodiments of Mexican identity. This open invitation unveils the multifaceted and highly contextual definition of a shared identity in relation to selfhood. The exhibition ranges from contemporary landscapes to materialized indigenous stories- showing the impinging effects of globalization, assimilation, and colonization on identity. Together this exhibition features artworks that hold space for familiar scenes, spiritual symbolism, and sensibility of emotions.

Opening on September 7th, this exhibition exposes viewers of core themes of barrio culture- whether it is Brownsville born Cande Aguilar’s recognizable odes to the typography of the neighborhood through barrioPOP signage or Mexican American Bruno Smith’s toying with consumerism and branding in immersive installation pieces that recycle familiar logos under the shade of plants. Elucidating experience, Saul Acevedo provides psychologically charged observations of assimilation from a school child’s perspective. Additionally, Acevedo’s burns-like-teen-spirit commentary on global warming is echoed in Mario Jimenez’s immaculate pinhole scenes that detail the cultural and physical run off of Uncle Sam’s waste across the borderland regions. Iconography of la familia is recontextualized in the work of Selena Lozano who substitutes canvas for drop cloth and also uses house paint as a sustainable homage to her father as well as in the piece by Esteban Ramon Perez whose process of creating gestalt tapestries out of lacerated material is an evolution of the time he spent with his father working in upholstery. Inspired from her parents’ career from owning a bookstore to construction, Ana Villagomez maps out her inner world in abstract dancing scenes of patterns, textures, and architectural landscapes of Texas and Mexico. The Brooklyn-based artist says she uses unconventional devices such as scour pads in order to achieve the desired layered effect. Probing into what can be silently communicated via reimagining utilitarian objects, Raul de Lara, who immigrated to the US from Mexico at age 12, carves out knotted shovels as the artist’s reflection on the exhaustion of manual labor carried out by immigrant communities while also alluding to the ultimate character and humanity wielding each tool. Curators Ramos and Valdez deftly chose to make spirituality omnipresent in the exhibition as religion is a pervasive albeit layered hallmark of Mexican cultural values. The work of Pentescostal-raised Angela Garcia involves deconstructing images of Catholic saints to their color keys and then in encaustic mapping out the deduction palette with votive candles. La Virgen de Guadalupe is summoned in the artworks of Irving Segovia (Tuxamee) be it in their collaged and milagrito haloed corazón or in their kinky and prickly digital composition. In their practice, Segovia alludes to lo prohibido addressing internal desire juxtaposed in the highly conservative setting of Guanajuato. San Diego born Alejandra Garcia calls her protagonist Diosa, and paints her being comforted by the trinity of cigarillos, chicharón, and Valentina in a blood red and bright pink interior space. Ana Hernandez's work illuminates and reflects the sacred knowledge inherited from the women in her family. The Oaxacan artist's practice involves using traditional techniques, creation stories, natural resources, and golden thread to remind us of the value of objects. Ranging from the Nahuatl surrealistic approach of Humberto Ramirez to the psychoanalytic muralistic execution of Pilar Cardenas (Fusca), Pásele Pásele! is rich in emotional variance. Leonardo Ortega, who grew up next to a cemetery and paints what is left behind after people die, joins Michelle Galaviz, who documents the human condition, in meditating on the oblivion that is remembered. Also documenting everyday life, Paulina Lozano recalls scenes of customs and rituals arising from economic and social exchanges in the public spaces of the artist’s born and based home of Mexico City. Michele Lorusso stimulates us to look back at ourselves through intervened mirrors that bring together the conversation between the self in the external environment and the environment’s reflection back on the self. Humor and cynicism punch back in the works by Erre S who paints irreverent jokes about the struggle of being a young person in Mexico. It is through the nuances of perspective, geography, and experiences between the artists included in MAD54 and Galeria 1204 first joint New York exhibition that a cohesive and contradictory story of Mexican representation is told. Written by Alexandra Victoria Alvarez
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