Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Home for the Holidays: The de la Torre Brothers @ Mindy Solomon Gallery.

Jamex and Einar de la Torre, "Greed Talisman"
Einar and Jamex de la Torre were born in Guadalajara, Mexico in the early 60's and moved with their mother to California a decade later. They led a binary life between the two countries and cultures, and have developed a global awareness in their work.


On the left is "Greed Talisman". A talisman is something bespoke made to protect a specific person(s), thing(s) or place(s). It is an al rondo composition, with a central portion, a flaming horned devil, with... (see below) 

Greed Talisman close-up 

Greed Talisman detail
....the words "greed" and "go" in its eyes. Around it a sensationally jagged "halo" in yellow. (On right) Surrounding that devil face are six canoe-shaped spaces defined by strings of toy pearls. Three on either side. On the right is a close-up of one. Note the yellow background, the pennies floating in it. Above, an European head, below, something out of a Mayan Stela (Palenque?). The two worlds.

 Their work is mainly baroque in the Latin American tradition, which is derived directly from European trends brought over during the early colonial period, and a Postmodern pastiche of many kinds, including Aztec, Asian, American, Mexican, etc. The work is flamboyant in color, form and concept, gleefully irreverent, powerfully intelligent, blending the sacred and profane with what at first glance might appear impulsive and perhaps random intent. In reality, they use these symbols and signifiers with surgical precision, albeit in an over-the-top manner.

Jamex and Einar de la Torre "El Cakeito"
 "El Cakeito", above, (the little cake) made of archival print(s), resin, objects and mixed media, involves the Goddess Tara [Link] in the middle panel, covered in graffiti. On the angled side panels are depicted Japanese storefront windows with fake plastic cakes on graffiti-covered shelves.Clear glass faces, some looking hungry rest over the cakes.

"El Cakeito", Detail of one face.

A She-Buddha, plastic cakes and the hungry. The artists often present us with unreconciled paradoxes or opposites, leaving it up to the viewers.

These works place demands on the viewers. Walk 360 degrees around each one, pay attention and crouch to scrutinize every bit. The brothers' iconographic overload (bordering on horrovacuity) has rewarding surprises in store for the astute viewer. There is a wealth of elements to every work, including some (more or less) hidden ones. I have learned to pore over their works, specially the pedestal pieces, no matter how small or large.

Jamex and Einar de la Torre, "Tanque You"

On the left is "Tanque You", Which translates out to "Tank You", a play on words. The tank is part head, lips locked around the phallic cannon barrel. Look closer. The "tracks" of the Tanque are precisely the color of and look like strips of flesh.The cannon's sight is way off center.

"Tanque You", detail

Look at the front of the tank. There is a Rubik's Cube and a royal symbol: A Fleur-du-Lis. One Divine Right and the other with innumerable permutations, but only one "solution". On the right is a plaque at the bottom front of the tanque. Does anyone know what it means?

Energy abounds in de la Torre works. The future jetstreaming into the present at a rate that is hard to assimilate, in a manner reminiscent of the torrential rate of information flowing into our lives from the Web, with the quality of a throbbing human heart.

Jamexand Einar de la Torre, "Rally du Mort"

In "Rally du Mort" (Rally of Death) we have a golden car driven by what seems like a Mayan Death Deity. This is an extraordinary piece, even within the de la Torre oeuvre.

Detail of side of driver figure
Each work carries a plurality of potential narratives and revelations, all fluidly shifting depending on where you stand physically and spiritually in relation to the pieces.

Some are just formal epiphanies like this detail of the side of the driver/deity. This is an exquisitely sensuous part of this work. Not the kind one ties himself to the mast to hear safely, but dives and swims towards the rocks to savor.

Detail of wheel/tire

Look at the wheels. There are six blue heads in each one. The tires roll on what one of our presidents referred to as "brown ones".

Detail, hood ornament.

The hood ornament is a European man's head, perhaps a conquistador's head. Here one might think they know this work, that this is ample, and there is nothing else to be seen, but they would be wrong.

Angle yourself to the side of the driver figure and look down between the dash/steering wheel to the floor. Where the accelerator would be is this white Death's Face, Laughing. A hidden secret in this work of art, and many of the works there have them, too. This one got my attention.

A lot of binaries in these works. Paradoxes. It's a marginal Cosmology, an intensely human one.

Congratulations to Jaimex and Einar de la Torre and to Mindy Solomon for a very good show.

--- Luis

This show runs through Feb 2nd.

Mindy Solomon Gallery
124 2nd Ave. NE
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

ph 727.502.0852
Gallery Hours
Wed-Sat: 11am - 5pm
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: By Appointment

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