Given that today is the Lunar New Year ( Year of the Rooster) and after this week of blustering male bravado coming out of the White House , I decided a bit of feminine rebirth was in order.
My relief print from 2015 , a limited edition of six , is available at a reduced price of $75.00 including domestic shipping . There are four left , if interested please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tomorrow the coarsest man imaginable ascends to power, an unthinkable concept for so many of us.
The following day, that same incredulous crowd will take to the streets for the Women’s March in D.C. and sister marches across the country. I plan, in solidarity, to march as well here in L.A.
In the spirit of the 1913 Suffrage Parade, I channeled Hedwig Reicher’s fantastic embodiment of Columbia for my marching placard, but I switched out the western allegory for the Aztec mother goddess Coatlicue, She of the Serpent Skirt- who but a fierce Latina could best smite the Orange One?
Being a big homo and loving the growing interest in so called “pussy hats”, I stitched up my own “pussy-boy” hat.
Amidst the spirit of unity there is a bit of conflict amongst those so upset by Trump’s rise to power. Initially there was a call to protest by not engaging in commerce; going so far as to ask museums and art institutions to shutter for the day. Many reasonable people have argued this is a bit of slicing off one’s own nose; what better balm than art.
I get that.
But personally I plan to abstain from any commerce , art related or not. It may very well be an impotent gesture, but by hunkering down in my studio, ignoring the bombast in Washington, I hope to maintain a bit of calm.
Others will seek solace where they find it, but no matter what, we artists are for the most part united in solidarity.
As the installation of our new president fast approaches and memories of the ugly divisiveness that the election stirred up, my thoughts turn to many things. First and foremost perhaps is immigration (the environment a close second when it comes to nail biting). What on earth does it mean to be an “illegal”, why we disdain some groups and laud others. What will happen to the undocumented?
Is it really so simple an issue that some folks entered “properly” and others enter through sheer will power, pluck and with a great deal of risk. I tend to think it is more than that. I often turn to my own immigrant stock grandparents who by the time I was a child were pretty much considered “good immigrants”.
And they were.
My grandparents were hardworking, ambitious and proud to be part of the fabric that makes this nation what it is . But so are the Mexican-American folks in my own neighborhood, many I suspect might have less than legal status. When I encounter the generosity of my neighbor up the hill, offering up a gorgeous platter of tamales , I am reminded of my Calabrian grandfather and the delight he took in a shared meal. When I see the diligence and pride my housekeeper Laura puts into her work, I am reminded of my Slovak grandmother; who felt no task too menial to not do well.
Then why? Why this difference in perception? Family lore was my grandfather was conceived on the way over to Ellis Island, that now seems apocryphal, but would he have been considered an anchor baby? It’s all very true that they entered “legally” , but must it be so arduous to be part of this great experiment? I wish it weren’t, we seemed to have been on a path of fairness. Now I fear a terrible regression.
As fate would have it I was notified of a group exhibition specifically addressing this heated issue. I was very eager to participate and this small painting will be part of the “fabric” of that show. I couldn’t be more delighted. My anxiety might not be lessened, but at least I was kept busy. In such times, that is all I hope for. If you are in LA please try to attend.
walter maciel gallery
2642 s. la cienega blvd.
los angeles, ca 90034
Co-curated by Monica Lundy
7 January – 4 March 2017
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 7th, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Walter Maciel Gallery is pleased to present With Liberty and Justice for Some, featuring the work of several contemporary artists who have been invited to create portraits of immigrants to the United States. The show is a statement on the many fears surrounding the announcement of our new president elect and a powerful response rejecting the presumed policies that threaten to disrupt basic civil rights.
A Change is Gonna Come
I’m closing with this image of my grandparents, if they were still alive , the would be over a century old.