Fredric Snitzer Gallery is pleased to announce Rites of Passage, the third solo exhibition by the provocative young artist Michael Vasquez, whose work has been exhibited at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami Art Museum, Rubell Family Collection, Bass Museum of Art, MoCA NoMi, University of Tennessee, the Franks-Suss Collection and Saatchi Gallery in London. This installation-based exhibition, running from February 17 – March 17, 2012, will open with a reception for Vasquez at the gallery on Friday, February 17th, from 6-9 pm.
Inspired by personal experience, Vasquez explores and recreates the danger and allure of a neighborhood street gang through the perspective of a growing boy who lacks a father figure. In search of ideals of masculinity and community, the protagonist experiences his rite of passage, the “transitional phase between childhood and full inclusion into a tribe or social group” (Arnold van Gennep, The Rites of Passage) in this case, his ritualistic initiationinto a gang. Vasquez’s unique interpretation of Gennep’s three phases of the rite of passage-- separation, transition, and reincorporation--is the connective premise of his collaged installation.
Vasquez’s new body of work marks an exciting expansion in medium and execution. In an effort to more directly integrate his photographs—a retrospective of his career as an artist—Michael revisits, resizes, and reassembles his images to fashion a large-scale, panoramic collage that narrates a gang’s convergence through friendships and the erection of forts within wrecked construction sites, which allude to the idea of broken homes. In order to address the 3-dimensional space of the Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Vasquez will collage the elements into an aggressive relief photo sculpture, the extensive scale of which will confront and unnerve even the most high-end viewer.