Tijuana's Transcending Art Period of the 70s

Los 70s Exhibition Review

By Jimmy Centeno
Published on LatinoLA: September 5, 2014

Tijuana's Transcending Art Period of the 70s

'Tijuana's Transcending Art Period of the 70s' exhibition showcasing at the Centro Cultural Tijuana (Tijuana cultural center, CECUT) is a far reaching exhibition that brings together many pioneer artists of the 70s. It is a glowing art exhibition that dims when the painting whispers across to get closer and glows when the artist's work of art introduces itself with mural like grandeur with charged strokes of paint and concern. It is poetic and socially committed.

Memory and Identity map across the exhibit's walls.

For Manuel Luis Escutia coordinator of the exhibition, "The exhibition is organized around three key elements; to give a welcoming demonstration of the artist's artistic evolution since the seventies, to create an inviting dialogue with the artist's metaphorical work of art and for the visitors to witness and explore the interaction amongst the paintings themselves." Mr. Escutia adds, "Segmenting the exhibition in themes or in blocks of styles would have cut out the cross-reference dialogue that unites many of the artists."

The exhibit is organized in a way that an abstract painting next to one that is figurative reflects a common syntax in the construction of meaning. The experimental art process in view at Los 70s (the 70s) exhibition demonstrate that for many artists, Tijuana became the center were the Mexican school of art merged with many other artistic influences, becoming "El Centro de un Encuentro" (the point of gathering). Artists from all across Mexico as well as from other countries came to Tijuana to experience the challenge posed by a diverse cultural atmosphere. Artist Hector Castellon from El Salvador settled in Tijuana in 1959. French artist Daniela Gallois made Tijuana her home and fountain of artistic inspiration. Both artists as well many others in the exhibition, all pioneered in making the City of Tijuana, Baja California a significant cultural center that rivals well known museums and art institutions.

Several paintings share a common dominator that of a border experience. In "El Exodo II" (The Exodus II) artist Joel Gonzalez Navarro paints fleeing human silhouettes shredding apart as they journey into an unknown deserted landscape. Navarro depicts his subjects with quick strokes of paint diagonally moving out to an invisible horizon. He calls our attention to the shredding process that comes with forced migration, the displacement and dislocation of origin in search of an opportunity that can alleviate much of the economic hardship experienced by marginalized sectors of Mexico. Navarro's Desgarados (The Shredded Ones) amplifies the human condition yesterday as well as today under siege by violence and shredding policies that disregard the hopes and needs of people on a universal scale.

Daniela Gallois's untitled painting of a beach scene is a delicate and meticulous narrative, personal and figurative. It is active and metaphorical were several worlds gather; land, sea and sky. It is a painted image of Intriguing whales and fish hurdling over the ocean waves calling the attention of those strolling across Tijuana's beach, and a conversation between a beachgoer and a bird. It is divided by a soft light grey hue vertically scrimmaging across by an uneven contour. Gallois's visual language communicates like a codice; her composition is frontal, storytelling and vivid with color.

To come across Miguel Najera's works of art is to feel the presence of muralist Jose Clemente Orozco. Miguel Najera puts his finger on the wound (Miguel Najera pone el dedo en la llaga) with Rapido and Furioso (Rapid and Furious 2012) and La Ultima Cena de Florido (Florido's Last Supper 2010). His paintings rip across the exhibition with lightning bolt brushstrokes exposing the consequence of the disturbing political rational behind trade agreements and matters of national security for both countries, The United States and Mexico. Najera's draw his inspiration from Orozco's allegorical and apocalyptic visual language. Since the Seventies to the present Najera's art trajectory reflects a clear commitment in addressing social issues of concern. He's paintings pumps hot air into the exhibition.

For Curator Roberto Rosique the significance of the exhibition are the continuing contributions and the legacy of Tijuana's 70s art generation. To recognize the past for Rosique is to unearth a sense of belonging, it is to have the ability to map ourselves to our history and struggles and restore a point of reference. More than half of the exhibiting artists have since past. Nevertheless the art they produced continues to have relevance culturally and aesthetically for present and future generations.

Centro Cultural Tijuana (Sala 3)
Paseo de Los Heroes 9350, Zona Urbana R?¡o, 22010 Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
+52 664 687 9600
Sundays are Free
Closed On Mondays
Adults: $4.50 U.S Currency
Children: $2.50
Teaches and Students: $2.60

About Jimmy Centeno:
Writer and Photographer
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