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Paul Sierra orchestrates a whole language of symbols derived from a personal cosmos. Sierra consciously cites stage motids in his paintings, with objects appearing like props and images-within-images appearing like various backdrops existing simultaneously in one painting scenario. In all these artists the principle of reference is absolute. That is, the invectives against reference which are the soul of North American visual thinking are absent in Latin American Art. What ironies are developed in these art works are not targeted on reference per se. Whether the artists delve into oneiric levels of awareness or investigate the pure mechanics of vision and spatial representation in all of them the poetry of visual language is exalted. This emphasis, modes of thinking based on simultaneity, the integration of oneiric activity with analytical thinking, a pervasive fascination with language and the infinite, and a tendency to think in terms of tropes is what identifies them as Latin Americans. It has been, and continues to be, the Latin American mind that underscores the fact that perception is the fruit of a poetics, that perception and awareness are an orchestration, and language, and that an approach to reality that elides this fact ultimately leads to boredom and sterility. Ricardo Pau-Llosa Curator, © 1988 THE CONQUERED LAND CHANGED THE CONQUERORS Most of the works in this exhibition were created in the United States - by American artists who are Hispanic or by Latin American artists who have chosen to live and work in this Country. The discovery of America came as a surprise, but the greater wonder derived not from the gaining of territory but from the appearance of ancient civilizations with sociological, cultural, and economic characteristics that were until then unheard of. The history of humanity is the relationship between: creative imitation through diffusion of forms, technique, ideas conducted across the continents, and the clashes among civilizations which have permitted these three mutual elements to incorporate themselves. The conquered land changed the conquerors. To paint a landscape is to invent an image. This image parallels itself to social movements and scientific discoveries, together with actions that impose themselves upon nature which are in turn affirmed or negated by the artist himself. The work of these artists reflect, in its esthetic choices and conceptual anxieties, their common past - indigenous American, African, Spanish. History unleashes in many of them a degree of political and creative passion unknown to artists from other cultures. The Spanish conquest, the loss of Texas or Allende's violent death, all seem to have happened only yesterday. But this raw consciousness is not translated into simplistic agit-prop or a search or the new and trendy. Instead, it sustains a spiritual search, a search for the underlying meaning of reality or for some kind of existential framework. In its convergence with American culture it is to be expected and hoped for that the conqueror will also, once more change. Inverna Lockpez Artist/Curator, © 1988 12
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