Art Exhibit: Frida

March 17, 2017 - April 18, 2017

At The Jean Deleage Gallery at CASA 0101

Frida: Courage, Identity and Imaginacíon

This exhibition presents eleven artists from all walks of life whom explore the multiple aspects of Frida Kahlo from her social concerns to identity and her passion for life.

Opening Reception: March 23, 2017 | 7-9 PM
Closing Reception: April 18, 2017 | 7-9 PM

Featured Artists:

Ernesto Vazquez
Ernie Lucero
Josefina López
Juan Solis
Marcella Swett
Margoth Abrego
Marilyn Montufar
Masha Tartarintsev
Renee Amatai
Sybil McMiller
Yaneli Delgado

Curated by: Jimmy Centeno

Frida: Courage, Identity and Imaginacion

A thought on Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
Frida has had record breaking attendance in Europe last year and she continues to do so elsewhere. Andre Breton described her paintings as bombs wrapped in tissue, and tied with a ribbon. Frida denied such claim. For her she painted the reality of Mexico. This exhibition reveals the many undisclosed aspects of Frida Kahlo as a painter, a woman and a fountain of inspiration for many.
Historian Shifra Goldman credits Mexican painter Frida Kahlo as: providing an introverted model: the woman focuses on her interior life, on the cycles of birth and death, on pain and fortitude, on the sublimation of the self in the art. And for writer Amalia Mesa -Bains Frida is:
“The first and most powerful artist to interrogate the body as a site of turmoil and transformation; she constantly questions the space between the living and the dead.”
She is one the first feminista to call out el machismo and femicides in Mexico with her 1935 painting titled: “Unos Cuantos Piquetitos” (A few Little Pricks) in were a woman lies in bed stabbed across her body. It is a visual transcript of a report of a woman killed out of an act of jealousy.
Her portrait series or the multiple paintings of herself can only be understood when we become aware that Frida’s father was a photographer. She extended her father’s photography when she decided to do portraits. Seeing Frida’s photography and her father’s side by side one can only come to conclude the origin of inspiration.
Frida’s acknowledges her indigenous heritage by amplifying customary indigenous ways. She dresses in traditional dresses, she utilizes colorful and bright colors in her paintings. She elevates artisanal ways of craftwork by using such means in her art making process. The inclusion of nature in her paintings provides the opportunity to rescue a lost connection, ‘that of being one with nature.’
She does this in the mist of her being labeled exotic in a westernized world. Amongst all this, Frida pronounces herself as, “I AM” in a man’s world.

During the Chicano movement, Frida galvanizes the “Chicano cultural nationalism” (Shifra Goldman) in whereas today Frida parachutes in an ERA of globalized neoliberal ideology when there are no longer heroes. It is an era that is considered the “death of heroes “or as academia calls it, the postmodern era, the cut and paste era, the simulacrum age. The repetition of images such as Zapata, Frida and many more can be considered as a symptom that something must change.
Mexican intellectual Paco Ignacio Taibo II writes ” Los mejores simbolos son aquellos que logran batalla, que sirven como instrumento para la construcion de identidad” (November 25 2016 Casa Cuba Conference). This translates to: the best symbols are those that achieve a battle, that serve as an instrument of construction towards our identity.
Does Frida have that possibility, is she more in tuned with younger generations then previous generations? Or has her image and what she stood for been co-opted by Hollywood, Academia, white feminism, or elite curators or all the above? In a conversation between Bell Hooks and Amalia Mesa-Bains on Feminist Iconography, Mesa-Bains considers white feminism as deracinating and depoliticizing Frida. “They have created a feminist icon without understanding the nationalist role that she played in Mexico and within a revolutionary movement.”
Frida’s DECOLONIAL activism is probably one of her most undisclosed political framework by many Eurocentric writers. She has been stripped down to an image and lost in all the banality of today’s double talk. For scholar and feminist Bell Hooks Frida’s activism is unquestionable. Hook descried her as:
“radicalized by an activism that is about decolonization, her questioning of imperialism, and her engagement in various political movements for justice. And her politicization began around the question of class, not around the question of gender; She was about who gets to learn and who does not, of who get to eat and who does not.”
No one doubts the talent and skill and pride of those who render beautiful Frida paintings. Can it be that by separating the politics from the artist or the multi-dimensional variables in Frida’s life concludes with the fetishizing of Frida’s image? Is Frida more than a painted portrait? Or is it that Behind her image stands a STRONG POLITICAL WILLED MUJER who loved life and fought social injustices against humanity?
Frida enlarges our sense of life, she brings forth courage, the power of the body, and the quest for harmony amongst us all.
To conclude we end with one of Frida’s most celebrated phrases “Viva la Vida” (Long live life).

This exhibition is dedicated to humanist, educator, activist and poet Gabriela Mistral the first Latin American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1945.

Jimmy Centeno
March 23, 2017

Ernesto Vazquez am an artist born and raised in the projects of Boyle Heights. He found his love for art through his love for comics and cartoons. As a six year old, he would often re-create his favorite characters and everything that caught his eye. His teachers recognized his talent and encouraged him to participate in contests. He won several scholarships to art schools throughout his childhood. As an adolescent, he continued to explore art in its different expressions. He was captivated by graffiti art and the underground street art scene and spent many hours studying the style but after spending even more hours in community service, he decided to enroll in a school for graphic arts. After two years, he re-directed my focus toward giving life to his original ideas rather than someone else’s.

Ernie Lucero is an artist that is mostly self taught… his artwork rooted in creating woodcuts, printed on paper, that he exhibits in several group exhibits trough out Los Angeles, Long Beach and the Bay area.
He also combines his style and techniques of his artwork to create original works on wood panels and repurposed skateboards.

Juan Solis, portrait artist and muralist, began painting at the age of 12. He spent eight years at the Academia de Arte Yepes of East Los Angeles, developing and creating his own distinctive techniques under the guidance of Chicano artist, George Yepes. In 1994 Solis was commissioned to design and paint his first large mural measuring 20’x 20’ at Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights. He has painted three murals at Mariachi Plaza, among them being the mural “La Virgen de Guadalupe”.
Enamored with the beauty of his family and the women in his life, Solis is continually searching for concepts that go beyond capturing a beautiful face. Juan’s work acts as a reflection of his internal self as he explores placing his subjects in psychological contexts.

Marcella Swett is a native of Southern California. She recieveived a BFA From California State University Fullerton. She began exhibiting her work as a teen and has continued to exhibit while maintaning a variety of art related careers for over 30 years. Working comfortably in several mediums she also enjoys creating both reprsentaional work and non objective abstracted work as well. Her representaional work often contains a narrative element with layers of symbolizm whereas her abstract is a direct response to her love of nature and patterns found under a microscope.

Swett is an award winning visual artist whose talents range from special effects model painter, faux finish expert, set designer and gallery director. Her work has been featured in film and television, private collections and featured in the permanent art collection at Calafornia State University Fullerton. She has worked for such entertainment companies at Walt Disney Imagineering, Universal Pictures, HBO and many set companies in the Los Angeles area.

For two years she assumed the role of Executive Director at the dA Center for the Arts after having served as a board and community member for several organizations within the LA area suporting and promoting the arts. She assisted in the development of Artlink, an Afterschool Arts Educational program that served 35 elementary and middle schools in the PUSD, was a member of the Artist Committee for “Absolut Chalk” Pasadena’s Annual Street Painting Festival, and was instrumental in the establishment of an annual chalk event for thr city of Pomona. For more than 13 years she has contributed her talents to the Los Angeles County Fair creating many murals and faux finishes throughout the exhibition halls and the Flower and Garden Pavillion.
In her spare time she enjoys camping with her husband and son and enjoys participating in what she calls her guilty pleasure…. Chalk and Street Painting.
Swett is a true testament to her belief in living life to the fullest through her art!

Margoth Abrego was born in the small town of San Martin in El Salvador on October 7, 1959. She began her artistic journey from an early age in El Centro Escolar Jorge Large. While sitting in class, she would draw flowers and sceneries around the pages of her notebooks. She also received schooling in crochet from the age of 12 and greatly enjoyed the art of cooking – a love that up until now she has managed to maintain for Salvadorian dishes.

The painter Jorge Marmol, cousin of Abrego, is one of the painters who has most influenced her work. She has learned and borrowed from him the brilliant colors, qualities and the reoccurring drawings of the published stock of San Martin.

Margoth Abrego arrived in Los Angeles, CA in the year 1980 to establish a home alongside her husband, Douglas Abrego, and their daughters Leisy and Claudia. Once in the U.S. the couple birthed two more daughters, Tatiana and Natalie.

When we ask Margoth – How do you see your art? – She responds with much enthusiasm, “my painting is a love for flowers, colors and women as God has given me four daughters whom I love and nature which is perfect.

Marilyn Montufar was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and received her B.F.A in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York, NY. She completed photography workshops abroad in Mexico, Italy, and curatorial internships through the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Richard Avedon Foundation.
Her photography is inspired by the diverse life-styles that surface in major metropolitan areas. She is interested in documenting the transitions inherent in gentrification and human relationships through a practice of portraiture and an exploration of the evolving urban and natural landscape. Often the work is an extended study of her subjects throughout the years, including the portrait series with intimate photographs of friends and strangers who have crossed her path.
Marilyn is an arts activist, both in her role as a youth art mentor and through the photographs she creates. She has experience mentoring inner city students in New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA. She currently teaches photography to youth who reside in low-income urban communities and is a program assistant for a teen art studio in Seattle, WA.

Masha Tartarintesev is a video and production designer and installation artist. In her most recent work, she has been exploring issues of mixed immigrant self identities, and women rights. She is fascinated by intimate miniature work for the audience of one as well as large spectacles for stadiums. Born in St Petersburg Russia, she spent her formative years in Pittsburgh playing make-believe about becoming a cowgirl, being a cross cultural ambassador and all the improbable things she would grow up to do.

Her love for physical movement and open spaces has shaped her into the artist that she am. This love started when she developed a bond with her dad as he taught her how to ski and skate. Her mom taught her how to draw nude figures of Greek athletes in museums and public parks. And she strengthened the bond with her twin brother through getting beat up in games of wrestling. She believes that tapping into one’s physical intelligence is a way to strengthen one’s creativity and problem solving abilities.

As a first generation immigrant to the United States she grew up in the American Midwest with a weak sense of identity. She never felt fully Russian because she was Jewish, but never fully American because she spoke with an accent and did not have a typical all American childhood. This flux has proved to be one of her greatest strengths. It made her flexible and understanding towards those who were different. It fueled her curiosity about other cultures. As a result, she became literate and sensitive to the needs of culturally diverse communities. She recently created and premiered a one-and-a-half woman show inspired by Nikolai Barishnikov’s InParis, and a collection of short stories by Ellen Litman. The piece uses ideas of immersive story telling, live video animations, physical movement, and personal connection with the audience to tell the story of a Russian-Jewish-Female immigrant’s experience in contemporary America.

This summer she completed a new body of work. She projected old family portraits on to her parents’ bodies and photographed them. In this process, she wanted to explore and visualize her DNA as well as the complex and strained relationships that both of her parents had with their mothers. She is currently working on a solo installation to show this body of work.

Renee Amitai graduated from l’Ecole des Beaux Arts de Paris, France and gained professional experiences in Fine Art and Architecture in France, Israel, Italy and America. Her artistic interests include Architecture, Printmaking, Painting, and Sculpture.
She moved to the United States in 1984, taught printmaking, painting and architecture in San Antonio Texas and in Los Angeles California. She lives in Paris , France and in Los Angeles, California.
Her work is exhibited in California, France, China, Japan, Korea and other countries. She is affiliated with LOS ANGELES PRINT MAKING SOCIETY, LA ARTCORE , LELA, BILDING BRIDGES, Metro Gallery, 417 S Hill, Gloria Delson Galjery. and other galleries.
In Paris to the association LES SEIZE ANGES , Gallerie Gavart, Paris 8 em Gallerie Mu, Paris 9em, Metanoia Gallery, rue Quincampoix Paris 4, City Hall Gallery, Paris 8, and to the ARTISTES INDEPENDANTS, Grand Palais,Paris.

Sybil McMiller was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. At a very young age, Sybil had a love for people and developed a love for drawing them. She was encouraged by her single mother and her 7th grade art teacher to pursue her talents as an artist. Shortly after graduating from Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, she continued her study of visual arts at Otis College of Art and Design, Ca, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Sybil does not consider herself as a painter… “I’m an ART MAKER,” she said. Sybil’s portfolio spans a broad spectrum, from designing embroidery for major home textile companies to producing cover art and spot Illustrations for international magazines. Her body of work is mostly figurative and displays self and social awareness.
Throughout the years, Sybil’s interest in people and love for the arts matured and prompted her to develop an internet talk radio show, The Pulse, which she hosts and produces,providing a platform for local Art Makers and Art Shakers to dialog with their community. As host, she has conducted nearly 100 interviews of various artists and art commissioners. Sybil is also a teaching artist, instructing both youth and adults throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties, in which she exhibits her art.
Sybil now resides in Long Beach, Ca.

Yaneli Delgado is a Mexican American artist born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. She began learning more about her culture and identity throughout her undergraduate years and became inspired by many local and Latin American artists. Although she did not major in art, she found her passion for it in high school. Her high school teacher encouraged and guided her as she explored different mediums. She is now exploring the medium of printmaking and hopes to learn other mediums.

Currently residing in South Central Los Angeles, Yaneli is in the progress of obtaining her art credentials. She wants to give back to her community by teaching art in a high school. She believes a brush can be a powerful tool to the artist as he or she can send a powerful message with a touch of paint.

Location: The Jean Deleage Gallery at CASA 0101

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