News & Exhibitions
2020 SEQ Biennial:
February 14th 2020-April 17th, 2020
Opening on Valentine’s Day, the second Southeast Queens Biennial will be a nine-week group exhibition at the York College Fine Arts Gallery and Miller Gallery at the Jamaica Arts Center (JCAL). Molaundo Jones and Margaret Rose Vendryes, the curators who are also visual artists, have invited ten Queens-based artists to address literacy, identity, and environment with work that investigates how their creative practice contributes to the life of the borough. Statistics document the remarkable ethnic and cultural diversity of Queens, but relay little about what is it like to live/work/play within culture-fluid communities that are still becoming "home" for many of its residents. Through painting, book arts, installation, photography, doll arts, performance, and interactive constructions, the 2020 SEQ Biennial artists reveal what can be “read,” in more ways than one, through the visual arts. Definitions of literacy, identity, and environment, remain open-ended as these Queens artists compliment, and complicate, NYC life through visual narratives that are like WRITING HOME.
1- What are the core and fundamental themesand concepts of your art?
My figurative portraitsconvey everyday stories of colorful characters. The narratives are based inordinary and familiar scenes of Latino family life, highlighting the influenceof American culture and implying indirect political statements. The strong presenceof primitive and naïve style connects the works to folklore elements andMexican crafts.
2- How closely do these ideas relate to yourcreative process and the actual act of creating the art itself?
I use photographicreferences that come from different sources, mostly candid pictures I take inmy daily life. They help me think of an idea for the painting or at least getme starting to think about the characters and the composition. The color playsan essential factor in my process, and it doesn’t necessarily come from doesreferences, they are choices I take during the process and where my artisticinfluences take place.
My whole visual language hasa powerful Latino influence, but it’s embedded in my DNA, I don’t over think itin does term. I just feel very inspired and attracted to my culture andfamiliar faces I used to see when I was growing up.
3- Which artists/designers/creators (past orpresent) are you inspired and influenced by?
The German expressionism andthe Viennese secessionist movement, including Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, GeorgeGrosz, Ernest Ludwig Kirchner, and More. Also, Matisse and the Fauvist Movementboth projecting brilliant colors and spontaneous brushwork and indebted to thesame late nineteenth-century sources, especially Van Gogh.
I admire the way Gauginapproach the South Seas island Tahiti paintings becoming the first modern"primitive."
Mexican muralist and famouseasel painters like Frida Kahlo, Maria Izquierdo and even more surreal painterslike Leonora Carrington (American) and Remedios Varo who explored more surrealstyles.
I look at Alice Neel, PaulaRego and others more contemporary painters that vary from Neo Rausch, DanaSchultz, Nicole Eisenman, Karry James Marshal, Cecily Brown, Peter Doig, DanielRichter, Marlene Dumas, Jenny Saville, and more.
4- Which of your work/works stands out as ahighlight, a favorite, or a significant point in your creative growth anddevelopment? And why?
Painting is an individualpractice, yet there are so many elements in play that need to work together.The drawing, composition, color, texture, narrative, size, etc. it sounds easy,but it’s very complicated.
In my opinion, that’s whysome paintings are better than others. Sometimes you can select a piece wheresomething exciting is happening, and it’s really outstanding, yet it might notbe the best painting because it’s not about that moment, it’s about the wholepicture.
As an artist, It’schallenging to choose one because we have an emotional connection to ourpictures since we put some much love and time into them. Yet, I really try tobe objective and critical to continually push myself.
Balloons and Winter Scene(2019) are solid paintings. Siesta (2016) always got great responses.
5- An artist of powerful creative voice andmessage, what do you wish to communicate to your audience?
I paint portraits of Latinoimmigrants because I am originally from Mexico and I am attracted to myculture. My work is not political, it's just a celebration of it.
I like the viewer to havetheir own take of the painting, my intention is not to impose a specificnarrative, instead, concentrate on the emotional reaction based on bold colorchoices and expressive brushstroke. I like it when the painting it’s upliftingand wired at the same time.
If the viewer gets avisceral response, without knowing exactly what is that attracts them. Yet,they have to stop and see it. That means it’s successful.
6- Creatively, professionally and in allaspects of being an artist, what are your goals for your upcoming works andart.
I like having a big range asan artist, in which all the paintings are very different from each other withinmy subject and style. Yet, I intend to have a unique energy that’s verycharacteristic of my work.
I want to close the gap fromthe worst painting to the best one. Meaning, that even my worst picture shouldbe amazing.