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Depicting the culture Chicano artist brings exhibit to campus

 

In César Martínez’s digital print, “Mona Lupe: the Epitome of Chicano Art,” Mona Lisa becomes La Virgen de Guadalupe. It is among the many works in the Chicano artist’s show, “Modes.”

“I really enjoy his portraits because he uses a lot of vibrant colors. It’s intriguing to the viewer,” said Josie del Castillo, a senior art major who attended the show’s opening reception last Tuesday in the Art Gallery at Rusteberg Hall on the Brownsville campus.

Martínez said his original plan was to create a different type of art from what he is doing now. His form of art came out of what he saw when he joined a group of civil rights activists in the Chicano movement of the 1970s.

“I never took my own culture into consideration,” he said. “I thought everything else was great. My culture, there was nothing there, but there was. I didn’t know how to look at it.

“All of this political input and the idea and the cultural ideas that grew out of that, who we are, realizing who we were–that’s what made me start doing this, making it known.”

Art education senior Jessie Burciaga also attended the reception.

“He is one of my idols. … I really like his combinations of monochromatic colors and the way he portrays his portraits,” Burciaga said.

“Mona Lupe: The Epitome of Chicano Art” displays high levels of contrast through the artist’s own rendering as well as from the original “Mona Lisa.”

Gallery Director and Visual Arts Lecturer Alejandro Macias said he is happy that someone who is so well known, not only locally but also internationally, came to UTRGV and showed what a practicing, successful artist is doing.

“He’s played with several media,” Macias said about Martínez. “But everything has its own intent. It’s still very consistent because it deals with his culture, so I think it hits home for a lot of people.”

Martínez’s art has been featured in the Houston Museum of Fine Art, San Antonio Museum of Art and Austin Museum of Art and the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City, among others.

The gallery’s hours for Fall 2015 are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday and noon-4 p.m. Friday.

Admission is free for Patron of the Arts members. General admission is $1 and student semester passes are $3. The exhibit continues through Oct. 30.

For more information, call 882-7025.

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