June 13, 2015 - August 1, 2015
This exhibition showcases 65 paintings by 26 painters represented in Cheech Marin’s noted collection of Chicano art. Marin, the entertainer who is well known for his work in movies, television, and improvisational comedy, has been acquiring art for more than 20 years, and he has amassed one of the renowned collections of Chicano art in private hands.
Marin’s most recent passion is collecting small paintings averaging 16 inches square and smaller in size. In contrast to other works in his collection representing and promoting the Chicano art movement of the mid-60’s and 70’s, the content of many of these small paintings leans more towards the artist’s internal or personal statement rather than as a response to political, social or cultural situations. The paintings, which range from photo-realism to abstractions to portraits to landscapes, offer a window into the lives of the artists. Whether showing us a glimpse of their neighborhood as Margaret García does in her expressive paintings of a car wash, hair salon, grocery store and taco shop; or personal interests such as graffiti art, street fashion and underground music that influence the works of Carlos Donjuán; or peppered with mystery and a bit of humor as in Ricardo Ruiz’s four portraits based on family members; or making a statement about the double standards imposed on Mexican women as Ana Teresa Fernández does in To Press I and To Press II; or John Valadez’s underwater figure studies painted on ceramic tiles, each artist draws on his or her own upbringing, cultural heritage, education and life experiences for inspiration.
With a keen and eclectic eye, Cheech has acquired a collection of paintings by both established and emerging Chicano and Chicana artists. Appearing at first glance as a disparate grouping of paintings, Chicanitas begs the viewer to examine, interpret and appreciate each artwork individually. This reveals the true secret of the exhibition that the individual parts are greater than the whole and size doesn’t matter!
Images by Monica Orozco