Michelle Dock, curator of Tempe Center for the Arts, suggests I come to the gallery early to draw the circle and square onto the wall that will layout behind my large figure study influenced by Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man. Drawing on a fine museum wall…I could mess up…
I arrive early, install has begun, and work is getting set out. Michelle takes me through the space showing me some artwork of historical significance. I always feel a sense of privilege viewing behind the scenes stuff like this. I can get right next to artwork and really look at it. If I’m inclined, I can sit on the floor with Luis Jimenez‘s or Enrique Chagoya‘s (below).
Michelle introduces me to James Sulak, who will be assisting me. What do you need? .. a copy of Vitruvian Man? Okay. We discuss what has to happen. James helps me unload and starts to set up my work.
When it comes time to draw the graphite circle, James measures out space, takes the work down again, and creates a makeshift sturdy compass with black foamboard, a nail and a cut out hole, for my pencil…the recognizable ingenuity of a Senior art student (ASU). I decide to let him handle it as I’m not the most natural multi-tasker.
We draw the circle and then the square. James puts the work back up on top of our fresh lines. I walk to the entrance of the gallery and stand on the front side of a colorful wood, tin, and bottle-cap magnet lined threshold Marco Albarrán has designed for the exhibition. My work fills the large wall across from it, at the back of the gallery. Marco takes a moment to tell me my painting has qualities of Coyolxauhqui, the Aztec Moon Goddess. I see that. Watching things progress slowly is exciting. Artwork continues to be brought in the entire time I’m there. The centered and lined up empty tables fill up before I’m gone.
As I stand at the entrance, to my right is one of the many images in the show that I’ve been familiar with since college, Ester Hernandez‘s Sun Mad Raisin.
The exhibition examines how art by Mexican American artists is influenced by the cultures of the United State and Mexico. Hence the title, “Mixing it Up.” Three main themes tie the work together:
1) Family and Community
2) National Identity
Examining three main styles including traditional, graphic and folk art references.
Ester Hernandez, Malaquias Montoya, Yolanda Lopez
Luis Jimenez, Enrique Chagoya, Leon Golub, Thomas Hart Benton, etc.
Also included are retablos and pieces of “Americana” such as Norman Rockwell posters.
And you’ll find a handful of contemporary AZ and southwest artists, like Frank Ibarra, Larry Yanez, Reggie Casillas and more.
It’s an informative and visually exciting exhibition. Drop in, the exhibit will run through January of 2012.
James and I go over the placement of the remaining 4 of my 8 works, and then I’m off. Thanks Michelle for the invite and great space. Thanks James and Jennifer and Sam, for your help.