Allegra LaViola Gallery is pleased to present Ready For Their Stones, a solo exhibition of collage and installation by New York artist Juan Hinojosa.
In his first exhibition at the gallery, Hinojosa has transformed the lower level into a chapel of sorts, though instead of the usual arcana of Saints, Hinojosa has created an assembly of modern day martyrs. We are invited into the intimate space to worship the newly minted holy assembly, and Hinojosa has made the job easier by providing kneelers and candles to aid us.
Hinojosa’s interest in religious figures is merged with a fascination for fantasy, consumer culture and comic book characters. As Saints are revered for their dedication to God and their desire for goodness in the face of evil, so too are the superheroes that Hinojosa deems worthy of worship. These women, battling for righteousness and sacrificing themselves in the process, bear more than a passing resemblance to the Saints with whom we are familiar. Often, Saints do themselves bodily damage in order to preserve themselves for God—St Lucy plucking out her eyes or St Agnes lopping off her breasts. Hinojosa draws a parallel to modern comic heroines, who suffer bodily harm to save the world. In choosing to represent only women, Hinojosa also makes a comment upon feminine urge to sacrifice oneself for the greater good.
In addition to calling upon historical figures, Hinojosa incorporates our modern day obsession with consumer goods into his altars. Just as depictions of Saints are accompanied by their attributes, Hinojosa’s superheroes are surrounded by panoply of identifiers drawn from high and low fashion. It speaks volumes to say these are the things we cling to in troubled times, especially since they are only things, but in Hinojosa’s gracefully rendered collages the things become objects of mediation as well as worship. The fanning folds of a metro card or the pursed lips that appear in several of the altarpieces form a language that we find ourselves instantly familiar in—we have seen these images repeated so many times in so many ways that they are as significant as the Lily to the Florentines. Hinojosa releases the objects from their meaning and adds a new interpretation, freeing us to see the new stars in his congregation of warrior women.
Juan Hinojosa lives and works in New York City. He received his BFA from Parsons and has shown work at El Museo del Barrio, New York; The Queens Museum of art, New York and ZieherSmith Gallery, New York. This is his first solo exhibition with Allegra LaViola Gallery.