As a companion show to the concurrent solo exhibition of our 2020 Artist-in-Residence Jacci Den Hartog’s work in the Boone Family Art Gallery, Gallery V will present a tandem solo exhibition of the works of Abel Alejandre and Eloy Torrez.
Alejandre and Torrez share an impulse to respect and honor the cultural wealth of Mesoamerican heritage rooted in our Los Angeles communities. As Jacci Den Hartog’s abstracted organic sculptural forms reveal our transient and shifting sense of self, Alejandre and Torrez articulate the complexities of the Latinx hybrid identity construct shedding light on ancestral Mesoamerican roots of Latinx psychology.
Abel Alejandre (born in Michoacan, Mexico; AA from Long Beach City College; represented by Coagula Curatorial) has powerful skills in figuration coupled with his themes emphasizing Chicano perspective, Latino heritage and Mesoamerican lore which have brought him considerable attention in the Los Angeles art world. His work has been exhibited at numerous international and national venues including the Museum of Art and History (MOAH), Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts in San Francisco, Galeria Fronteriza in Mexicali, Galerie Merkel in Grenzach-Wyhlen, Germany and the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery’s “Size Really Does Matter” show curated by Scott Canty. His recent Metro Expo Line artwork at Westwood/Rancho Park Station is comprised of twelve tile panels that articulate public transit experience from a child’s perspective and has been widely received as a favorite of many Angelinos. He is a master of drawing, with particular emphasis on graphite and wood cut prints.
Eloy Torrez (born in Albuquerque, New Mexico; attended Otis Art Institute in 1977) has exhibited his studio work internationally since 1978. Torrez began painting murals in 1983 (“Legends of Hollywood,” – destroyed during the Northridge Earthquake in 1994.) Other murals include “The Pope of Broadway” (Victor Clothing Co.) – 1984 “Entrada a un Nuevo Mundo” Francs-Moisins, Cite Francs-Moisins, St. Denis, France -1991 and “Water, essence of life” 1998, an installed, interior mural for the Metropolitan Water District Building, downtown Los Angeles. Awards include 2009 C.O.L.A.; 2004, California Community Foundation, for mid-career grant and 1995 Brody Fellowship for the Humanities, Hollywood Arts Council “Charlie” Award for Public Art, honoree for years with the HeArt Project Workshops, 2007, and several certificates of recognition for public art or service. Torrez is also a recipient of numerous artist residencies.
Abel Alejandre is a master draftsman specializing in drawing and wood-cut printmaking. Originally from a small rural town in Michoacan, Mexico and emigrating to Los Angeles in 1975, Alejandre focuses his attention on the theme of the male’s sense of identity utilizing metaphors such as the rooster, crow, and nopal cactus to explore the roots of machismo. Through his practice, Alejandre traces back through his personal history to gain insight into the universal identity construct patterns of his gender.
Eloy Torrez’s oil paintings focus predominantly on the figure and human psychological circumstance. He explores self-identity issues as he articulates his American upbringing comingled with his Latino heritage, teasing out how these melded aspects play out in his own personal life view. Torrez is notably renowned for his signature mural on the Victor’s Clothing Co building entitled “Pope of Broadway”. This mural celebrates Anthony Quinn as an icon of Latinx empowerment modeling American success. The mural is a beloved landmark of Los Angeles. Eloy’s studio paintings often employ symbolism and self-portraiture in narratives that investigate the vestiges of ancestral mythologies inherent in one’s subconscious responses to life, coloring one’s contemporary circumstance.