Jésica López: Everyone is a Potential Provocateur

Paintings by Jésica López, curation by Adrian Aguilera

Opening: Saturday, October 5, 2013 – Closing: November 30, 2013

(Austin, Texas); Polyglot Gallery invites the public to a special exhibition by Monterrey, Mexico artist Jésica López at their new South Austin pop-up gallery space on Saturday, October 5 with an opening reception from 6 to 8 PM with the artist.

The exhibition titled, Everyone is a Potential Provocateur, is an exhibition of twenty-five portraits of famous artists painted on Post-It® notes. The series includes portraits of artists chosen by curator Adrian Aguilera such as Cy Twombly, Marina Abramovic, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Andy Warhol – all artists who, according to López, through their craft have and continue to “provoke” change.

“I originally began this project 10 years ago circumstantially. All I had on hand to begin a project was Post-It® notes, brushes, magazines and some acrylic paint”, explains López.

Portrait painting is characteristic of Jésica López’s work, which often employs portrait painting to explore the relationship between representation vs. identity, posture vs. fame. Her work is often executed in a rapid hyperrealistic style. The series of Post-It® notes initiated ten years ago includes a whole sub-series of pop icons, politicians, and actors, each inspired in part by pop art, as well as by artists such as Lichtenstein, or more recent artists such as Karen Kilimnik. The portraits paintings reveal their origins in photography and memory.

Jésica López is represented in Mexico by Galería Enrique Guerrero where her most recent solo exhibit in August 2013, El Retrato,  involved her doing live portraits of the patrons at the gallery. She also shows at Alternativa Once Galería in Garza García and Centro de las Artes II in Monterrey as well as at the Mexican Institute in Paris, France. In 2012 she exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Moscow with an exhibition titled, Saludos a Gagarin: la popularidad es algo irreparable (Salute to Gagarin: Popularity is somewhat irreparable). López show at Polyglot Gallery in Austin is her first US solo exhibition.

Gordon & Maureen Morris – Anomalies

If while walking into the gallery you feel as if you have been sucked into a vortex in the space time continuum, then congratulations, you have stumbled across the most entertaining and creative show of the year, Anomalies, by Gordon and Maureen Morris.

Maureen and Gordon Morris met in college where they both graduated from the Ontario College of Art in Toronto.  Gordon started out on a career in graphic design back when the work was all done by airbrush but he soon found himself on the cusp of the early use of computers to produce these images.   He was able to adapt his style to the computer and soon became adept at using a tablet and monitor to draw and paint images.  Because of Gordon’s ability to lead the curve of the new technology he was offered jobs in exotic locations and so he and Maureen lived in Hong Kong, China, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles where each of their creativity was guided by their experiences and surroundings.  Maureen’s love of ceramics has also taken her to Lill Street Studios in Chicago, Santa Monica College in Los Angeles and other studios along the way.  Studios are shared work spaces where ideas and techniques are exchanged between the various artists.  It was an opportunity for Maureen to learn and to teach and to truly grow professionally.

Gordon’s trip back to fine art came to real fruition after their move to Mexico once he was able to apply his creative talents towards his own, non-commercial creations.  Gordon uses Photoshop to plan out the paintings and develop the characters and subject of his work. If a new idea develops he can then scan the painting into the computer and try out the idea before committing it to the canvas which he does by hand.  Maureen also began exploring her medium to the maximum in Mexico creating geometric and organic ceramic forms (cacti, insects, hearts & functional art) influenced by her environment while incorporating the traditional firing methods in gas and electric kilns as well as pit firing, raku and naked raku techniques.

Gordon’s work is highly detailed and usually bizarre in subject. He uses sculptural elements, usually on highly complicated frames, which help to develop further the ideas in the main image.  There is usually some kind of story being told by an interesting nearly literary character.  A highly colloquial adjective that can describe the work is simply “cool”.  A sense of playful fun exudes from the work.  It is interesting how this same playfulness is also exuded by Maureen’s work.  The ceramic medium because of its more rigorous production demands lends itself to more austere expressions, yet Maureen’s work shares Gordon’s language of the light-hearted and the non-conformist.  It only takes a visit to their home and studio to understand some of the influences that help to form their current common language: vintage toys, robots, and other playful paraphernalia found from their travels around the world – items that contest to their status of children at heart and true admirers of both high and low art.

Come be transported to another world and meet the artists this Saturday, August 4 from 6 to 9 PM at POLYGLOT Gallery.   Exhibition will be on display through August 29.  For a PDF catalog of the show please e-mail info@polyglotgallery.com.

PETER LEVENTHAL – New Paintings

Peter Leventhal is a storyteller.  Having had the fortune to be born and raised in New York City with all of its stimulation and access to the greatest artwork of the Western World, Leventhal soaked in every opportunity he was given to learn from the old masters and to mingle with the new.  Primarily a self-taught artist, Leventhal credits the hours he spent in the New York Public Library, which houses drawings of some of the world’s greatest masters where he would copy and learn from their every mark, for the basis of his art’s education.

One of the early painters who peaked Leventhal’s interest was Raoul Dufy, a French Fauvist painter.  It has been nearly 40 years since Leventhal has been inspired by and has conversely interpreted some of Dufy’s philosophies into his own work.  Most recently, he finds that as his physical ability to hold a paintbrush in his dominant hand is no longer an option due to the Parkinson’s, he is now able to more fully embrace Dufy’s concept of allowing color to override the edge and follow into the adjoining figure and not be confined to a spatial context.  This has created more dynamic activity in his newest body of work, which is markedly more abstract than anything Leventhal has previously painted. This marked evolution also includes broader brush strokes and a generalization of the light/dark contrast of the composition as well as a particularization of the color.  The outcome is a series of vivid paintings that reference common Leventhal themes – love, lust, envy, exhibitionism, artistry – and characters – the sculptor, etcher, dice player and accordionist – while offering the viewer a new glimpse into the evolution of his work.

The public is invited for a cocktail reception with the artist on Friday, July 6 from 6-8 PM.  The work will be on exhibit until August 1, 2012.

Colorful adventures in DF

Call it the 2012 phenomenon but I am changing in ways I never imagined I might change.  Change is the only constant, right?  But in general I thought I would always at least see most changes coming.  These past few days spent in Mexico City found me saying “yes” to things I would normally say “no” to and vice versa.  What could that be all about?  Well, I rather not go there out of fear of how long and convoluted that road might be but I feel good about my choices and that’s good enough for me.

Mexico City is a great place.  Those of you who haven’t been in awhile or are a bit timid to travel to one of the largest cities in the world, just go.  There is always something to see and do and more than likely some everyday something-or-another for a resident of the city will blow your mind.  What I always find a little mind blowing (other than how there aren’t more car accidents with how crazy everyone drives) is how there is at max 2 degrees of separation between the people I meet (even in the most random encounter) with people I already know.  This weekend the introduction to artist Karima Muyaes was one such example.  Karima comes from a long lineage of artists and collectors and patrons and general cultural icons of Mexican history.  Her father is the one who incorporated milagros into his artwork in the 1950s.  He was also one of the first documentarians and later collectors of Mexican dance masks.  I could go on and about how Karima’s family has intersected my family and friends over the years, but yesterday was the first time I met her.

Karima is an artist and a jeweler.  She is primarily a colorist who incorporates the influences from her childhood growing up in a family of archaeologists into very textural paintings that are reminiscent of textiles.  Only having seen her work in photographs I was extremely delighted by the rich texture she uses and by the innate glow that her work emits.   It was only seeing the paintings in person and perhaps placing a face and a soul to the artwork that it began to really resonate in this very personal way with me.  This is so often the case.  I receive countless images via the internet by artists who want to show at the gallery and so often I write them off before spending any time with them.  Karima and her work wrapped me in their arms and made me feel warm.  That is a feeling that I can’t deny.  I gave up trying to decide whether it was the artist or the artwork that spoke to me the most.  All I decided was that I need more time with these paintings and with this fascinating woman and thus I have set a date to show her work in September.  I will use that time time peel back the layers and get familiar with the cultural references she makes.  I will delve into the world of color that so often scares me away (oh how I do love the monochromatic).  Maybe you will find your way into the gallery in September and share your thoughts with me.  & please don’t chastise me for straying from what you might think is my aesthetic.  I couldn’t say “no”.

Day of the Dead Special—Day of the Dead Festival brings life to La Aurora

Maestra Margarita Fick standing in front of the altar she dedicated to Capulina.

Día de Muertos has to be one of the most fantastic and colorful times of the year to be in Mexico and for the artist community and businesses at the Fábrica La Aurora it is a great excuse to really dress the place up and invite the community to enjoy and perhaps learn more about the timeless Mexican tradition. As per usual at the Aurora celebration, the Fábrica has chosen a non-profit to benefit and to champion their importance during the party and this year that honor goes to the ever-needed and desperately underfunded Mexican Red Cross who struggles valiantly daily to serve the growing San Miguel community. The pertinence to the celebration should be fairly obvious- if you don’t give, next year’s altar may be dedicated to you.

Every year for the festival no expense is spared in the entertainment department. Upon arrival there will be marimba in the entrance patio. Then as the marimba starts to fade out you will catch the mariachi band further in and by the end of the night, you will surely be swinging your partner to the sweet sounds of Trio Los Románticos or Trio Los Compadres, who will be rolling out the nostalgia.

It is also customary during this event for each studio and gallery to present its own unique altar dedicated to the deceased of their choosing. What is an altar you ask? Well, it is a fantastic and often elaborate offering to entice the dead to come back to be amongst the living. Be on the lookout for a beautiful multi-tiered, colorful assembled altar covered in bright colorful hand-cut tissue papers, full of the favorite food, booze and trinkets of the deceased being summoned. Make sure to visit each gallery and artist studio to see each of their personal altars.

The main altar in the entrance patio will be a very special altar staged by the master cut paper artist Margarita Fick with the help of the lovely staff of Galería/Atelier and will be dedicated to the great Mexican comedian Capulina who passed away just a few weeks ago after a successful career entertaining three generations of Mexican families. If you don’t know Capulina, look up “El Santo vs Capulina” for some real “old school” Mexican cinema. Another altar in honor of the also recently deceased surrealist artist Leonora Carrington will be located near the café and will be created by local artist James Harvey. Expect an altar as surreal as the art of the artist. The final altar will be located in Section C of the Fábrica and will be built by Mary Breneman and Jim Corcoran in honor of the long dead Mexican Master David Alfaro Siquieros.

A few special exhibits will also happen for this special occasion. Galería Alebrije is presenting a special collection of oil on canvas in celebration of the Day of the Dead, which includes paintings by Guadalajara Artist; Mario Oliva and Australian Artist, Rossmore James Campbell. Both Artists are based in SMA and will exhibit themed paintings of the Mexican Death culture from ancient Aztec goddesses to the more contemporary Catrina. Galería-Estudio Rolando García will be celebrating the closing of the exhibit for local etching artista Adolfo García. At Galería/Atelier don’t miss the assemblage show by French artist, Claude Mathey. There are wonderful stories being told there. Also they will be showing new work by papel picado and San Miguel’s favorite new artist in town, Margarita Fick.