For PULSE Miami 2015, De Soto Gallery will feature new works by Joaquin Trujillo and Ramona Rosales from their recent projects, Mal de Ojo (Trujillo) and Shelter (Rosales). Both artists create dramatically staged vignettes around the idea of home that speak to the very human impulse for myth-making and finding (or losing) meaning in our lives.
Trujillo’s Mal de Ojo (the “evil eye”) is based on his recollections of being gravely ill as a child in his hometown on the outskirts of Zacatecas, Mexico. When scarlet fever, thought to have been the result of a curse, nearly took his life and his eyesight, his family turned to the local curandero (healer) to save him. The series is in two parts: fetishistic portrayals of the artist’s trauma and tabletop arrangements of folk remedies and collections of personal amulets and totems. Often presented as diptychs or triptychs, the scenes deal with aspects of isolation, the need for protection, and the value of faith.
In addition, selections from Trujillo’s Flores series will accompany the installation. These similarly symbolic remembrances of family and childhood are a tribute to the women (and a few men) that influenced the artist. Growing up between Mexico and the US, flowers filled the homes of Trujillo’s mother and sisters and were frequently used medicinally and as offerings. The careful arrangements borrow some of the sentiment of 19th century Victorian “talking bouquets” with deeply expressive coded messages. Together, Mal de Ojo and Flores, reflect Trujillo’s colorful worldview, echoing a structured slippage of heritage across culture, place, and time.
Rosales’ Shelter centers on notions of domesticity, particularly its articulation in film and television. Rosales cloaked the façades of houses on the fictional Blondie Street — an exterior set on the Warner Bros. backlot in Burbank, California that has been the location of countless movies and tv series — in brightly colored fumigation tents. The result is tantalizing, neatly packaged and candy-colored, and simultaneously oppressive and claustrophobic. The duality encapsulates the palpable surrealism of living in a media-dependent culture and locates humor in the absurdity of contemporary life.
Alongside the new work, a collection from Rosales’ last series, Outside the Lines, will be on view. Like the flip side of Shelter, Outside the Lines, takes another view of domesticity, with open-ended narratives of housewifely mishaps. Chromatically suggestive of Josef Albers and Henry Hensche, the images are designed as experiments to test how color affects the perception of a story.
Joaquin Trujillo (b. 1976, Los Angeles, raised in Zacatecas, Mexico) received his BFA from Art Center College of Design. His work is in permanent collections at San Francisco MoMA and the Amon Carter Museum and has been included in their recent exhibitions: Portraits and Other Likenesses (SF MoMA) and Color! American Photography Transformed (Amon Carter Museum). His work has been exhibited across the US, as well as in Mexico, Britain, and France. Trujillo splits his time between New York, Zacatecas, and Los Angeles.
Ramona Rosales (b. 1978, Los Angeles) received her BFA from Art Center College of Design. Known for her candid, offbeat portraits of celebrities, her work appears regularly in numerous publications including The Hollywood Reported, Billboard Magazine, and New York Times Magazine. Her work has been exhibited in the US and Mexico. She is based in Los Angeles.