THE CRITICAL EYE BY PHIL TARLEY
Presented by Ruben Esparza and the City of West Hollywood WeHo Arts program.
Curator Rubén Esparza has put together a sterling collection of multi-generational LGBTQ Latinx artists in tandem with the Pacific Standard Time’s current evocation of Los Angeles’ Latino(a) Art.
Chockablock with compelling photography that includes prints by cultural Latino(a) photographic touchstones Laura Aguilar and Rick Castro, Esparza’s exhibition cleverly presents a cogent cornucopia of some the best Los Angeles Latino(a) art. The presentation also includes, painting, drawing, installation and mixed media work.
Laura Aguilar offers candid portrayals of herself, her friends, family, and Queer Latinx communities. Using her nude body as an overt and courageous rebellion against the colonization of Latinx identities — racial, gendered, cultural and sexual. Her practice intuitively evolved over time as she struggled to negotiate and navigate her ethnicity and sexuality. Her work also addresses her challenges with depression, auditory dyslexia, and the acceptance of her large body. Her photographs and videos are frequently political as well as personal. They traverse performative, feminist, and queer art genres. Aguilar is currently featured in two Getty Pacific Standard Time exhibitions: LACMA’s HOME – So Different, So appealing, and Laura Aguilar: Show and Tell, a major retrospective at The Vincent Price Art Museum. A brave pioneer, she has carved out her own indelible niche of fierce, Latina-centric photography. At times playful, often startling and challenging, Laura Aguilar is a visionary.
Rick Castro is a photographer known for work that focuses on fetish and desire. Castro’s sex positive imagery is darkly erotic, elegant, and at times, sinister, somewhat like the artist, himself. A powerful and imaginative figure that emerged in the Los Angeles underground during the late 80’s, Rick Castro was dubbed The Fetish King. His photographs are characterized by potent and visceral tableaux tinged with sadomasochism, leather and sexual pleasure. Rick Castro’s films are archived by UCLA Legacy Projects and his books and photographs are collected by the Alfred Kinsey Institute and the Tom of Finland Foundation.
Esparza writes, “There is a thread, a strong soulful link, which connects Latix people which is indelible. It is a lineage that carries the rhythm of varied cultures. Many are newcomers to this country cutting new paths. Latino(a) art and culture is not monolithic; there is not one story or one identity. Latino(a) art encompasses many cultures, identities, origins, and histories with many subsets- and in this case a queer Latinx perspective.”
QUEER CALIFAS, honors LGBTQ Hispanic art in a profoundly wise and worldly curation. The exhibition runs until Saturday December 9, 2017 at Long Hall Gallery in Plummer Park. The gallery is open on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 1PM to 7PM . The show is presented by the City of West Hollywood WeHo Arts program.