Mariano Unplugged, Mostly during February at Out North Contemporary Art House
BY INDRA ARRIAGA
The exhibit Mariano Unplugged, Mostly, by Mariano Gonzales, which is presented Out North in Anchorage, offers an opportunity to see the development of his body of work, as well as the path that Gonzales has opened for artists and the public through his interpretation of difficult and complicated themes that reflect the reality of many people. Mariano Gonzales is a Mexican-American visual artist who has lived in Alaska for more than 30 years, and along the way has established a professional career that has taken his art to many parts of the United States and Alaska.
In Mariano Unplugged, Mostly, the artist takes us on a tour of his career in Alaska and throughout the decades. The retrospective exhibit presents known and unknown works across media such as sculpture, prints, mixed-media, and of course, painting. The time frame encompassed by Mariano Unplugged, Mostly begins with the decade of the 1980s, and runs to the present. The exhibit came about after an experience that Gonzales had last year that led him to receive medical treatment outside Alaska for a couple of months. Being away from Alaska and without access to his computer equipment and studio, Gonzales turned to more basic and direct artistic tools, such as canvas, brushes, and oil paint. By returning to painting after many years, Gonzales establishes cyclic connections in his artistic evolution, and once again, ascertains the importance of social and political criticism.
Mariano Unplugged, Mostly charts a journey of parallel paths; in it one can see the evolution of technology in the arts as well as the political issues that now form our reality. The pieces of art on exhibit are part of a body of thoughts, emotions and theories that are united and at the same time are strong and unique individually; one such piece is Gonzales’ painting Returning, in which Gonzales makes reference to the painting by Andrea Mantegna, Lamentation over the dead Christ (1480). Both works speak of the moment just before the resurrection or the return to life, either literally or symbolically. To create this painting, Gonzales meticulously studied perspective, using several photos and images to develop content. Other works on display speak of the cultural memory that is part of the artist. Through Mariano Unplugged, Mostly the artist continues to open paths and to reflect on the need for changes to social attitudes of inequality and racism so that things can build towards a better future.
The exhibit opens on February 2, 2018 at Out North Contemporary Art House, 333 W 4th Avenue, Anchorage, AK, 99501. The gallery is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm – 4pm through the month of February.
Mariano Gonzales.eClipse, 2017.
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