At Ivester Contemporary, solo exhibitions by Jasmin Zelaya and Natalia Rocafuerte — Sightlines

In Jasmine Zelaya’s solo exhibition at Ivester Contemporary, ‘Late Bloomers’, the Houston-based artist explores the awkwardness of growing up and forming an identity, drawing on her experience of assimilation as the daughter of a child. Honduran immigrants.

Zelaya’s parents came to the United States in the early 1970s, and his terracotta paintings and sculptures reference the playful psychedelic aesthetic of that era with patterns, colors, and even the makeup and hairstyles of some. of his portrait figures. The only visible brushstrokes are squiggle shapes that give the characters hair texture, which when added to the vivid colors of the portraits give them a pop art quality.

Contemporary Ivester
In paintings and sculptures, Jasmine Zelaya uses portraiture to explore themes of identity from the perspective of a first generation, Latinx artist. Courtesy of Ivester Contemporary

Almost all of the sculptures and paintings in “Late Bloomers” depict women or girls with flower petals in their irises and black flower petal designs on their two-toned brown skin. The figures have neither nose nor mouth. Their eyes are pink as if they’ve been crying, and small sculptures perch on fake grass, silver tears streaming down the figures’ cheeks.

Many of Zelaya’s characters look thoughtfully, with a kind of emotional, adolescent introspection. The feminine floral elements that adorn their eyes, skin, clothes and hair position these girls as young, but also as consciously creating their identity.

Zelaya’s bold paintings contain subtle elements, like the rhinestones that are part of the pattern on the characters’ shirt in “Teenage Dream,” and the surprising lettuce head pattern on the characters’ clothes in “In Abundance.” The sculptures, which are mostly busts, carry the visual language of Zelaya in three dimensions, where the flatness of his noseless and mouthless faces is striking.

On display in the project space of Ivester Contemporary, ‘Dream Hotline’, a multimedia installation by Natalia Rocafuerte, offers a different kind of psychedelic vibe. Austin-based Rocafuerte explores the complexities of identity and land through the dreams of Mexican immigrant women, and the results are surreal.

At the entrance to the installation, fruit stickers with QR codes are stuck randomly on a concrete pillar. Once scanned, they lead to a 360-degree video that tells a dream, taking the viewer through three floors of a store in Mexico. A long banner hangs on two walls, turning a corner. Each of its three panels contains a dream journal entry. Panel one has a row of colored pears, but in panels two and three the pears are overripe and some cover parts of the text, obscuring the plot of the dream. Their rotten centers dissolve into the deep blue background of the banner.

Natalia Rocafuerte
The multimedia installation “Dream Hotline” by Natalia Rocafuerte uses recordings of dreams of Mexican immigrant women that the artist has collected. Courtesy of Ivester Contemporary

In the hands of Rocafuerte, the fruit is a complex symbol. She wears tags and must pass inspection to cross borders, as she did growing up on both sides of the Rio Grande. His images of fruit also evoke the term pocha, which, derived from a Spanish word for rotten fruit, is used to chastise immigrants from Mexico who assimilate into the mainstream culture of the United States. Channeling repressed or forgotten memories through dreams, Rocafuerte complicates the idea of ​​assimilation by turning to the unconscious of immigrants.

Headphones in the installation allow you to listen to dreams told on an FM radio station. Callers describe their dreams in response to Jungian questions read in English and Spanish, including “What emotions did you feel?” and “En qué país fue el sueño?”.

Their dreams play quickly and freely with time and geography. “I’m in Las Vegas but it’s in China,” recalls a speaker. Meanwhile, dream situations range from bizarre celebrity encounters, to a botched terrorist plot, to teaching a class on how to clean your eyeballs.

While listening, visitors can watch projections mapped onto three satellite dishes. They display a highly saturated sequence that includes anime clips, an infomercial, an animated eyeball, fruits, patterns, masks, and the Mexican passport emblem.

Sharing space at Ivester Contemporary, works by Zelaya and Rocafuerte contrast nicely with each other in medium and style. Zelaya’s characters are more immediately accessible than Rocafuerte’s media landscape, but as Latin artists interested in immigrants’ experiences of assimilation, their work is thematically connected.

Together, the exhibitions create a conversation between the work, experiences and experimentations of the two artists.

‘Late Bloomers’ and ‘Dream Hotline’ continue through January 14 at Ivester Contemporary, Canopy, 916 Springdale Road.

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