Crossing Borders: Tres de Oeste featured recent work by three powerful and very different Southwestern artists at Presa House Gallery in San Antonio.  Two of them, Vicente Telles (b. 1983) and Brandon Maldonado (b. 1980), are based in New Mexico; Ricardo Islas (b. 1970) works in San Diego. The three artists know one another, though this was  the first time all three have exhibited together. Telles proposed the exhibition, and the artists selected their own works for Presa House’s show. 

 

Maldonado’s work at Presa House is a departure from his long standing engagement with graffiti and graphic novel traditions. His deepest reference at the moment is traditional New Mexican religious art (also called folk art, santero art, or Spanish colonial art). To this base, he has applied Picassoid heads and linear patterns inspired by the astonishing self-taught artist Martín Ramírez. Maldonado has largely turned away from social concerns to emphasize the formal qualities of his work. 

 

Telles, on the other hand, has been deeply involved with New Mexican religious art (both traditional and contemporary) for many years. But in his work at Presa House, he has — with one important exception — eschewed religious art traditions to explore issues pertaining to Latino emigration and labor. Consequently, both New Mexican artists are presenting uncharacteristic work. 

 

Islas’ work is politically charged, though the ostensible subjects of his work, which include toys, games, and other aspects of popular culture, can be deceptive at first glance. Paintings by the three artists were mixed throughout the rooms at the gallery. In this review I treat the work of the three artists separately. 

 

Read the full article on Glasstire

View Vicente Telles' works  here

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