Francisco Letelier, Bobby Rojas
Painter, muralist, poet and educator, Francisco Letelier’s reputation lays in his power to reshape the dialogues of history by providing an artistic alternative to the political processes through which diverse historical narratives can become manipulated or filtered out. Preceding a mural project for instance, Letelier often finds it necessary to research and consult the people in the immediate environs of a neighborhood for which he senses are the holders to the keys of a larger and under-recognized story that more accurately reflects their condition. Letelier is concerned with who is telling what story from where, and about the nature of perspective. The rich and often times overlapping histories from which he gleans from his peers have become the subject of numerous public murals, paintings, poetry readings and spoken word performances. The artists’ ethic of accessible, relevant knowledge and education through storytelling recalls the heart of such historical movements as the Mexican Muralist Movement that he surely shares lineage with.
Letelier’s paintings develop their discourse through a dialogue with contemporary culture and its processing of iconic historical figures such as Che Guvera, whose meaning and stature have become emptied through their widespread, commercially-proliferate use. Letelier recasts such icons in acrylic paint as figures of complexity, contradiction, contemporaneousness and products of their own free will. Letelier was born in Chile and grew up in both Chile and the United States. Letelier’s murals can be seen throughout Los Angeles
Los Angeles painter, Bobby Rojas draws from a kaleidoscope of impressions as he humorously envisions dystopic settings where mutant life-forms interface with man-made technological debris. Like an anthropologist, Rojas navigates from within his culture and at a remove, shifting his perspective in order to see. In a painting such as "A Mass of Individuals Identifying Technology #1", laptops and Ipods hover in space, greeted by oversized insects with human eyeballs surveying their exotic findings. This peculiar interaction oddly resonates a parallel to the Age of Exploration through the eyes of the indigenous peoples who must have witnessed the haunting magnificence, first of the ships on the horizon, and then of the explorers themselves. One can only imagine the degree of unfamiliarity between these peoples of vastly different paradigms, for which there was no precedent. Rojas strikes a certain note of ambivalence towards the idea of progress and humanity with his conflations of the primitive and the advanced technological society, laying bare questions about our status within the natural world, and about our complex, contemporary moment.
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