Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Chicanitas: Small Paintings From the Cheech Marin Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, downtown San Diego

Cheech Marin, who is known as a comedian, has been an avid collector of Chicano art for 25 years. He has built a renowned collection that has travelled across the United States in several venues. This exhibition presents paintings by Chicano artists, including established figures such as John Valadez, Leo Limón, and Patssi Valdez, as well as younger emerging artists such as Jari “Werc” Álvarez, Ana Teresa Fernández, and Sonia Romero. Each of the works in the exhibition are approximately 16 inches or smaller, and depict subjects including familiar landscapes, notions of cultural heritage, familial relationships, and social community. In Chicanitas, Marin has drawn together a rich variety of works that express the complex texture of the Chicano experience.  This combination of figurative and landscape works form a kind of expressive realism – depicting a musical rhythm, vibrancy of spirit and color, depth and often straightforward simplicity of day to day life. There is a ten minute video accompanying this exhibition which is an important contribution to this show because of Cheech Marin’s incredible enthusiasm and passion in talking about his collection – he says “I had an immediate and visceral reaction to these paintings”. He likes them because “they are self contained and draw you in”.  It is interesting to note that some of the works in this exhibition are painted by artists who have never shown their work before this show.
                                                  Sandy Rodriguez, Payasa, 1998, oil on panel, 12 x 12 inches. Collection of Cheech Marin. © Sandy Rodriguez 2013.

Cathy Breslaw is a contemporary visual artist exhibiting across the U.S. at museums, galleries, college and university galleries and art centers. She is a contributing writer for Art Scene, southern California and writes her own blog: www.artfullifebycathy.blogspot.com   Her art can be views at: www.cathybreslaw.com

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