Paseo Del Sur
San Antonio, 78249
June 27, 2018 - 5:00pm - August 3, 2018 - 7:00pm

From news release: In conjunction with San Antonio’s Tricentennial, UTSA’s Art & Art History Department is pleased to announce Culturas, an exhibition curated by artist Andrei Renteria, who presents it as a flexible convergence of artists, whose generational histories are part of the minority of the Latino population in San Antonio.

Centered on a divergently imagined latinidad, a term referring to the various attributes shared by Latin American people and their descendants, this exhibition focuses on a few of the artists who are the many complexities and contradictions of immigration, (post)(neo) colonialism, race, color, legal status, class, nation, language and politics of location redefining what it means to be an American.

The exhibition opened on June 27, and lasts through August 3. The featured artists include: Hayfer Brea, Veronica Caceres, Ovidio Giberga, Rafael Fernando Gutierrez Jr., Vikky Jones, Josue Romero, Eric Saunders, Mercedes Stainken, Victoria Suescum, and Allison Valdivia.

Hayfer Brea’s poetic fragmentations register natural and imaginary boundaries in homogenous seascapes captured at two locations—the Caribbean Sea, coast of the Litoral Central of Venezuela and the Atlantic Ocean in New York City. Pressed into the form of a puzzle, their harmonious union clues us in to the paradoxical feelings and sensations of crossing new horizons and the immersion into a current state. 

Veronica Caceres paints intimate portraits of sex offenders as a way to understand, address, and deal with the anxiety caused by her own experiences. Painted against the standardized stark and simple backgrounds of a “mug shot”, Caceres challenges the viewer to confront the magnitude of issues surrounding rape and sexual assault that statistics cannot convey.

As a first generation Cuban-American, Ovidio Giberga has a very personal connection to the concept of the melting pot as a metaphorical vessel.  In this body of work, Giberga explores the vessel form as liminal space in which alchemy or change takes place, entertaining the ideas of duality and struggle.

Rafael Fernando Gutierrez Jr. is a conceptual artist whose interdisciplinary practice circumnavigates power structures through critical discourse and interpersonal inquiry. Using the body as a substrate, Gutierrez’s uses theoretical language to question the macro/micro aggressive behavior in relation to race, ethnicity, and personal identity. 

Vikky Jones evokes nostalgia for childhood by combining the process of collage and the construct of coloring book. Jones “colors” and delineates well-known animated characters by using images of food, textures, and patterns to create a grotesque aesthetic that confuses the figure/ground relationship and blurs the line between youthful memory and adult concerns.

Josue Romero photo documents an assemblage of those willing to join the vanguard for equanimity and progress by wearing a sculpture that harnesses the ideology of Mexican philosopher, José Vasconcelos’ La Raza Cósmica (The Cosmic Race).

Eric Saunders infuses the Latin America popular art forms of wood carving santos (saints) and the poster with modern iconography and reinvents the religious symbol of San Antonio as a new pop-cultural object and introduces the mainland population to a folk custom involving San Antonio, the patron saint of marriages in Puerto Rico.   

Mercedes Stainken is a multi-media artist whose symmetrical compositions and airy constructions out of handmade paper and thin wooden veneers, revolve around themes of unusual juxtapositions and the poetic use of form and color. Fortunate to have maintained extensive family connections over the years with her maternal family in Nicaragua, Stainken often turns to the primordial richness of the tropics for inspiration.

Victoria Suescum presents two series, whose similar forms are inspired by the streets of her native Panama. In the Cuadernos series, Suescum recreates the monochromatic colors and surfaces she first encountered when painting messages of protest against the Noriega regime in the 80s, Similarly, Suescum groups them with the colorful imagery of the Tienditas (small shops) series that surrounded the artist in her youth and that continue to inspire the artist today.

Allison C. Valdivia draws from archives of recovered family photos whose traces of action, such as rips and imprints, act as a narrative for the artist. Playing the part of the historian with her findings, Valdivia’s selection of images take place during a time when a family comes together as transplants to a new country.