The SVT Gallery at Salvage Vanguard Theater is hosting an exhibit of works by sculpture artist Roberto Benavidez from October 3-24.
Benavidez is a self-described “half-breed, south Texan queer” artist based in Los Angeles. Earlier in his career, he experimented with traditional craft forms and now specializes in sculpturally elegant and fantastical piñatas. Benavidez’s mixed cultural heritage, history and identity, and interest in high and low art forms, has resulted in a philosophy and practice that spans a series of intersections between self and culture.
“It is these intersections that reveal the most about me as an artist who grew up closeted in the 80s, at odds with both white and Latino peers, constantly encountering judgment and fear,” said Benavidez. “I see myself as a bridge between worlds, respectfully blending disparate elements to provoke thought and transform cultural practices.”
His body of work and use of the piñata as both a structure and theme makes reference to an ever present series of dualities. Inherent are the contrasts between a traditionally European fine art tradition with a Mexican cultural practice, a valued object and its destruction, a beautiful exterior and an interior that potentially hides other objects or ideas, and the tension between philosophical figurative sculpture and craft’s more objective emphasis.
Benavidez’s “Piñathko” series are more planar textural applications of hand cut paper composited into color fields. These works are lush, graded and tonal interpretations of Rothko’s iconic paintings that exude a sense of being tactile. Their diminutive size (in comparison with Rothko’s immense and often intimidating paintings) is humorous and endearing, as well as a reference to the Mexican practice of reproduction-as-homage of the work of beloved famous artists.
“While working on my Rothko inspired ‘Piñathko’ series, I was drawn to the painterly qualities of the layered fringe and the potential to create subtle shifts in color,” Benavidez said. “The landscape feel of these color field works led me to experiment with creating pictorial representations of Texan landscapes. I have documented the process of this hybrid of craft application and fine art painting on Instagram, where you will also find the process stages of hummingbird and bat piñatas, my nod to Texan wildlife.”
The Serrate exhibit at Salvage Vanguard Theater will feature a collection of locally inspired painting piñatas, Piñathkos, birds and bats.
Opening reception for the exhibit is October 3, 3- 6 p.m. Gallery hours are Thursday- Saturday evenings, during performances, or by appointment by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
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