United: All the Continent, Galeria Las Americas
ARTNews Magazine, February 1994
by Suzanne Muchnic
New York & Tokyo
In a mélange of 150 artworks from the Americas – South, Central, and North – gallery owner Linda Vallejo promoted her own work along with that of 49 other Latinos, crammed art into every inch of space, and sold work off the walls, replacing it with others available for purchase. But no one faults Vallejo’s professionalism because she promotes respect for Latin American art and provides a lively forum for artists who have few other outlets in Los Ángeles.
By showing what she calls a “full spectrum” of Latin American art. Vallejo hopes to shock visitors into understanding that a rich resource of material is being overlooked. For every big name on view, dozens of unheralded artists displayed a wide range of talent.
Painting in gouache, Vallejo explores the feminine unconscious and issues of religion and morality. In her work Evil and Innocence, two ghoulish characters ogle a self-conscious female nude whose head is a pink, butterfly. Isabel Martínez presents an anguished view of women, who are painted in an expressionistic style. In The Price of Beauty, a mixed-media cutout depicts a bathrobe-clad woman with her hair in rollers and her face slathered with a beauty potion.
Using a lighter touch, in a watercolor-on-plastered-paper technique that resembles fresco, Teddy Sandoval paints dreamlike images of winged hearts, crosses, and figures submerged in water. Another sensitive draftsman is Juan Angel Castillo, whose image of Christ is charged by wiry line. Cycle of Life, a striking steel-and-ceramic wall sculpture by Michael Amescua, is a sunburst composed of silhouetted figures running across a ring of boating sculls. And so it goes in this unfocused but enlightening collection.
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