Friday, April 8, 2022

Every Picture Tells a Story at Art Produce Gallery

 By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt


Marianela de la Hoz in the gallery with her latest work-in-progress. ( photo: Maurice Hewitt)

On April 3rd, my husband and I drove south to North Park for what we thought would be a quiet chat with Marianela de la Hoz, who is doing Sunday paint-ins at Art Produce Gallery where, along with Helen Redman, she is half of the bilingually-titled exhibition Retelling/Recontar. 

We had no idea that, in the hour or so we spent in the small-but-mighty gallery, more than a few members of San Diego’s art world would show up to see what Marianela was up to. What she is up to is showing some terrific new pieces in an artistic dialogue with her co-exhibitor.

The two artists’ styles are vastly different. Marianela, born in Mexico City, is brilliantly meticulous, working mostly in egg tempera, a medium favored by 15th-century European painters. She has a taste for surreal imagery and a sensibility that is wholly contemporary and usually satiric. Helen Redman’s style is bold and wildly self-expressionist, but the two share a love of symbolism and their artworks have a strong woman-centered perspective.

Marianela de la HozMeme & the Influence (photo: Marianela de la Hoz)

Helen Redman, Monster Mama (photo: Helen Redman)

Marianela de la HozReturn to Infancy (photo: Marianela de la Hoz)

“We are both grandmothers, telling the same stories, but in different ways,” Marianela said. “How do we see the world and what’s happening in it—the world our kids are inheriting? We looked for the links between our artworks.” 

She pointed out the similarity of facial expressions in two adjacent paintings: her own MeMe & the Influence and Helen’s Monster Mama, which also has something in common with Marianela’s Return to Infancy, whose Spanish title translates as: “In dreams I return to my infancy, an ignorant baby.”

Marianela de la Hoz Sing Along ( photo: Maurice Hewitt)

Marianela de la Hoz Changing the Words Does Not Change the Condition (photo: Marianela de la Hoz)

The Missing Link: Marianela with Helen’s jigsaw-puzzle painting Puzzled and her catalog photo page. (photo: Maurice Hewitt)

What is particularly interesting about this show, curated by Art Produce owner Lynn Susholtz, is how the paintings are hung conversationally, making it easier for viewers to notice the similarities. In the accompanying catalog, with text by artist Bhavna Mehta, there are suggestions on How to Enter a Painting: “Paintings like repetition…They like having secret conversations. Surrender yourself in this exchange.” 

An excellent thought for this exhibition.

Impromptu gathering of art producers: Lynn Susholtz, Gail Goldman, Marianela de la Hoz, Katie Ruiz, Alessandra Moctezuma, Tom Noel, Teresa Mill. (photo: Maurice Hewitt)

On view through April 30.
Art Produce Gallery
3139 University Avenue, San Diego, CA 92014

Hours: Thursday 5-8 pm; Friday/Saturday 12-5 pm, or by appointment.
Sundays with Marianela: April 17 & 24, 12-5 pm. (You may catch her working on a painting)

Lonnie Burstein Hewitt is an award-winning author/lyricist/playwright who has been writing about arts and lifestyles in San Diego County for over a dozen years. You can reach her at

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