Latino Art Museum Biennale
at Latino Art Museum, Claremont, CA
Artists inlcuded: Stella Alberti, Elvia Lucia Arango, Maria Elena Bicer, Marina Caballero, Jose Cosenza, Angie Culasso, Ana Marini Genzon, Luis Gomez, Miguel Angel Guerrero Cosco, Lorraine Healy, Diego Jiminez, Cecilia Lami, Mario Londoño, Mario Gee Lopez, Lino Martinez, Beatriz Meija-Krumbein, Carlos Alberto Molina, Luiz F. Molina, Gilbert Ortiz, Domingo Plaglia, Fabian Perez, Ramon Ramirez, Dan Romero, Steven Ruiz, Simon Saldarriaga, Federico Silva Lombardo, Marcos Stillo, LAura Tersitano, Carmen Diana Teal, Linda Vallejo, Mauricio Vallejo, Claudio Vazquez, Victor Hugo Zayas
As we move into an increasingly technological and hostile world, we will find that nature is the fundamental source of truth, beauty, and solace. In my work I seek to create a lace where we can remember and re-collect inspiration from nature.
In “Mist” a woman sits among the brilliant vapors to express a metamorphic relationship with natural elements. Woman is portrayed as a symbol of the creative force. “Mist” is taken from a personal experience of mist. I did not work from pre-drawings, but rather focused on the memory of the setting, depending on automatic impulses to direct the painting process.
Leah Ollman of The Los Angeles Times stated, “Vallejo’s paintings are generated by her deeply felt connection to those fundamental life forces – birth, nature, spirit.”
Renowned collector Armando Duron states, “Linda’s art works convey her deep conviction, her closeness to nature, and the higher powers that control all our destinies.” Educator Sybil Venegas reflected, ” … the art of Vallejo is distinct in its ability to integrate her personal truth and experience into a visual whole that defies convention.”
Contemporary Chicana and Chicano Art: 2002 (Bi-Lingual Press, Arizona State University) states, “Vallejo’s work exhibits a confidence and passion engaging the viewer in a rumination that is directed without depending on polemics. Tangible and inevitable, the work effectively replacing debate with responsibility.”
“Mist” is one in a suite of over fifty works entitled “Nature and Spirit,” (2001- 2003). “Nature and Spirit” continues to express my belief that nature is intrinsic to the human experience and essential to the future of our troubled world.
Latin American Artists in the United States
by Andrés Mario Zervigón
Associate Professor of Art History
Department of Art and Art History
University of La Verne
What is it that unites the art of Latin American artists living in the United States? Not very much. But this fact alone accounts for the great variety of work now in the Latino Art Museum’s first Biennale. Though these artists share a cultural heritage which is itself already diverse, their lives in the United States have exposed them to one of the world’s most complex and international art scenes. The result may be one of the few visible strands woven through this great assortment of art. For all these artists show an interest in combining the memory of their home cultures with the trends and innovations continually riddling the United States art scene of which they are now a part. Works of art varying in media from painting to the conceptual are therefore loosely strung together by this thin though significant link. Miguel Angel Guerrero Cosco’s brilliantly painted Mandarinas, for example, resonates with the new interest in painting that has struck our country and more specifically, Los Angeles’s art scene. Yet his near academic approach to the subject, in its thorough realism and studio site specificity, recalls practices of Mexico City’s Academia San Carlos, the first traditional school of arts established in the Americas. Similarly, Maria Elena Bicer’s Quietud en el Jardin de Monet reminds one of the strong link Argentina maintained with Europe’s late 19th century avant-garde even as it shows her participation in a new photo-realism. Perhaps working the other way around, Carmen Diana Teal shows an interest in her country’s historical treatment of indigenous populations while her art confronts the newest trends in conceptualism. Her installation Guambia Penumbra results from her residence with one of Colombia’s most remote native populations but it mediates this encounter through a collection of physical terms that challenges a viewer to infer an overall meaning. As in other works of international exhibition art that one can find in Los Angeles galleries, what might otherwise be a random assortment of found materials suddenly seems significant as it is read through implied filters of South American cultures and histories. These same filters can lead one to ask if Perhaps Mauricio Vallejo’s La Pala references Colombia’s difficult task of excavating itself from so many layers of La Violencia, or if it nods toward the Neo- Concretism of Lygia Clark in neighboring Brazil? Or has he made Marcel Ducamp’s New York ready- mades, from the late nineteen-teens, more topical to his home country’s tortured history? Or does it achieve all these references in complex encounter with history and art?
These questions and others suggest another strand that could weave together this diverse collection of art. Could their unity arise in part through the context in which they are viewed? Modern and contemporary art have turned the act of viewer inference into a significant part of the art work itself and here, in the Latino Art Museum, that inference is heavily motivated by the show’s context. Yet this too has become typical of North American and international exhibition art, where the show’s environment plays a crucial role in the art’s formation and reception. Engage with these works individually but ask yourself why they might be here together. What makes Beatriz Mejia-Krumbein’s Oda a la Mujer unique as a near memorial to the women and child victims of war? How does it fit into the context of Latinas and Latinos working in the United States? Does it mediate questions about Colombia’s troubles alone or is it valid for larger histories of war? These questions ultimately allow an entrada into each exhibited piece, an entry that can engage the viewer with a series of questions, inferences and aesthetic positions that each artist offers through her or his work. The result of this encounter will be something like a collective work of art made between us in Pomona and these artists from various countries of Latin America.
Artist Statement by Linda Vallejo