Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dualities and Line Drawing

Have to begin this post with a resounding plug for Alberto Ibarra and Christi Burgos, who celebrate 13 years of matrimony and art. Beto is a founding member of Teatro Chusma in East LA, and they both make stunning visual work they've grouped together for a show called "Giving Birth to Duality." The husband and wife collaborative exhibition is currently on display at Antigua Cultural Coffee House here in El Sereno and features serigraphy and painting as well as the vivid 3-D paper mache pieces Burgos creates as the force behind Mayan Inspirations. I wasn't able to make the opening, but the work will remain on exhibit for the next few weeks. Be sure to check the wedding photo that pictures the happy couple in front of a classic bomb lowrider straight from the 1940s. Kind of makes you proud to be in LA.

"Herban Mother-Lode," a photo exhibition at First Street Studios in the heart of Boyle Heights featuring work by several photographers I admire, opened last Saturday with a daylight outdoor performance by East LA's favored musical sons Ollin and beats by Spaceways Radio DJ Carlos Nino. The exhibition offer eye-catching and thoughtful work by Sandra de la Loza, Dalila Mendez, Heriberto Oriol and his son Esteban Oriol. Definitely worth checking out. I plan to stop by for a second look myself. It was definitely cool to finally catch up with Azul, the artist behind the "Peace in Iraq" photo project.

Of course, the weekend would not have been complete without a predictable stop at Ave. 50 after the Boyle Heights run for a showing of new work from The Los De Abajo Printmaking Collective, an informal group working out of Self-Help Graphics. "Drawing the Line," as the exhibition is titled, is a tantalizing show of experimental prints that use line as a point of departure for exploration and examination of social demarcations, internal and external emotional states as well as the intersections of art with political and personal ideologies or transfigurations. Among the artists exhibiting are José Lozano, Emelda Gutierrez, Judith Durán, Kay Brown, Poli Marichal (who will also be part of the "Maestras" show opening in several weeks at Self-Help), Mariana Sadowsky, Antonio Escalante, Victor Rojas and fellow Echospace Poetry Collective member Don Newton.

Emelda Gutierrez and Kay Brown deserve mention here because I had not yet realized how singularly powerful and evocative their respective print work has become. Beyond that, I'm wearing a nugget-sized quartz crystal in a brass wire setting that hangs from a leather chord around my neck these days. It is a gift from the hyper-energetic Gutierrez, and it has become the amulet that fuses both poetic and earthly energy for me as the waves of melancholy nostalgia and fear-laced sadness are gradually replaced with peace and light and joy.

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