Saturday, October 1, 2022

Collidoscope: de la Torre Brothers Retro-Perspective at the The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture of the Riverside Art Museum

by Patricia Frischer

Collidoscope: de la Torre Brothers Retro-Perspective
Exhibition until January 22, 2023

I understand the kudos that is transferred to a work of art that is displayed in a museum. The clean walls, the good lighting, the careful labels all instill a stamp of approval. I also recognize that there is good art made everyway by all sorts of artists who are not recognized. I always admired art made by Chicanos and appreciated the Latino experience being communicated in these works. I was especially glad to be introduced to a number of artists in the Cheech Collects ground floor exhibition space of the new  Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture of the Riverside Art Museum.

And I can’t believe I am going to write this, but I wish the works had been less removed from their environment. I would have loved to be looking while drinking shots of tequila, maybe get a contact high from a bong, having small children selling me sticks of gum, smelling fresh street food and seeing the world passing while the arts was embraced as an everyday occurrence, integral to our lives like breathing.   

That is how I feel about the work of Einar and Jamex de la Torre. When you go upstairs to see Collidoscope: de la Torre Brothers Retro-Perspective you are amazed with the sheer quantity of out put on display. You feel you have almost entered another world, but not quite. It is still clean and maybe a bit too neatly displayed. They seem to still want to make sure you know this is an important exhibition in a museum. But that is not how I know the brothers. They are warm, relaxed and authentic. 

The de la Torre Brothers are bi-national and bi-cultural and we readily accept that they make cross border art which is a mix of both sides. (Please note the  Brothers were recipients of the San Diego Visual Arts Network SD Art Prize in 2010 now a dozen years ago). They take all the history of Mexico, ancient culture, politics, wars, religion and mesh it up with contemporary slang, symbolism, sex and rock and roll. This is easy to see in the lenticular works that change as you move. They shift in time and in viewpoints. As the title points out, the view is backwards (retro) but it is also through their perspective. And the past collides with the present, and even the future, making a kaleidoscopic of images, i.e. a Collidoscope.  This exhibition does represent about 40 years of work, so it is a true retrospective as well. 

The works are not just blown glass, they are a mix of molded plastic resin, found objects in all sorts of materials, metal structures, videos and sound art. The space ship with astronaut above is a giant ancient head (maybe Aztec) with all seeing eyes and propelled by a circle of fire. There are many figures and many mandala shapes with repeating patterns. The giant moving Ferris wheel takes those meditative religious shield shapes from the past and makes it into a fun fair blood bath. 

Cheech Collects showing until June 18, 2023, with 120 works from Marin’s generous gift of over 500 works to the Riverside Art Museum as well as from his personal collection reflects a 40-year span of art production.

Frank Romero

Joe Pena

Joe Pena

Joe Pena

Carlos Almaraz

John M. Valadez

Adan Hernandez

Adan Hernandez

John M. Valadez

Carlos Donjuan

Eloy Torrez

Judithe Hernandez

Alfredo du Batuc

Benito Huerta (please note, painting on left on black velvet, on right lead panel)

Candelario Aguilar, Jr. 

Glugio "Gronk" Nicrandro

The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture of the Riverside Art Museum
3581 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, CA, 92501
Wednesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Admission is timed and capacity is limited.
Adult: $15.95
Senior (65+)/Educator/College Student: $10.95 (ID will be required at check in.)
Children 13-17 years of age: $10.95
Children 12 and under: Free
Military personnel (active and retired): Free (Accompanying adults and children are also free; ID will be required at check in.)

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