Saturday, May 14, 2011

Revolutionaries in History: Written and in the Making


396 Thomas Ave.
Pomona, CA

This gallery is a small space; however the work itself incorporates interesting motifs and social themes that have been relevant for many centuries, ever since there has been a group of people trying to make a change within their community. When one walks into the gallery one can quickly survey the art on display. My gaze was immediately drawn to a wall composed of numerous bold graphic images.

PEDERSEN Projects Gallery
This is the work by Chicano artist, Oscar Magallanes, who has become known for his work on wood and his political statements made through his art pieces.
While the images range from faces to flags to an eagle made of wood, his art ties  together many issues that have been faced by revolutionaries throughout the world, including abolitionists of the 19th century, and present day workers. Although Magallanes creates political art, his art is considered Chicano art and he makes sure that it is credited as such by once in a while including some common Chicano iconography. 

Piece by Oscar Magallanes

19th Century Revolutionaries next to 21st Century Revolutionaries
Oscar Magallanes

Even when some people may not see his work as fitting under the Chicano art umbrella, his pieces continue to be Chicano art. Chicano art is growing and encompasses many different forms of art. For example, four pieces that stood out were the portraits of John Brown, Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln, and Frederick Douglas. Each of these images had a quote by the respective revolutionary as the backdrop.  These were placed nearly at the center of the wall and stood out since they were also some of the larger works done by Magallanes. When asked about these four pieces, Magallanes mentioned that he hoped that some people would figure out the reason why he had included abolitionists as part of the REVOLUTIONARIES display. They were definitely created to add a historic perspective to the theme of revolutionary leaders, but it was also to honor the 150th anniversary of the Civil War; something few people keep track of.

Revolutionists from the Americas
Oscar Magallanes

Each of the four pieces contributed a different nuance to the overall theme, even though they contained the same portrait styles. Although each person portrayed in the portraits was an abolitionist, not all of them had the same approach to dealing with slavery or even the same experiences with slavery. For example John Brown is sometimes seen as very controversial since his rebellion against slavery was violent, while Frederick Douglass had been a slave and decided to fight to dismantle slavery through public speaking and writing. By showing different types of revolutionaries Magallanes is able to remind viewers that some revolutionaries will be seen as good while others will be seen as bad, yet when it comes to the big idea in history they were all doing something to make this world a little better and they have left their impact.
Some artwork by ABCNT
A piece by Cryptik

 If you have not had the chance to visit PEDERSEN Projects to see the REVOLUTIONARIES exhibit featuring artists ABCNT, CRYPTIK, OSCAR MAGALLANES and ASAD FAULWELL you should. You’ll experience some art that speaks on the past, the present, and makes one think about where this world is heading.


No comments:

Post a Comment