Los Angeles, California - Tropico de Nopal Gallery-Art Space is proud to present Shizu Saldamando's first solo exhibition of new paintings and drawings in Los Angeles.
Shizu Saldamando's work depicts subjects from the richly diverse communities of East Los Angeles, South East Los Angeles, Downtown LA, and the surrounding cities within the San Gabriel Valley. Toggling between portraiture and candid captures, Saldamando's pieces consist of detailed renderings and multi-layered collage that pay homage to friends and their eclectic styles and musical tastes. Each person she depicts, exudes an intense power and vulnerability whether it be on canvas, paper, wood, or cotton fabric. The variety of materials mirrors the complexities of her subjects. By using materials such as glitter, origami paper, ballpoint pen, bed sheets, handkerchiefs, ruled notebook paper and plywood, Saldamando mimics the sundry styles of the people she chooses to represent. The use of origami paper integrated with prism and scrapbook paper point to a perceived ethnic or cultural context, but the juxtaposition of these materials, dislodges and confuses any cultural generalizations. Her use of ballpoint pen similarly references both smart Latino Low-Rider art and the doodling of an office or academic environment.
The coupling of older traditional artistic mediums together with pop culture materials highlights a historically specific, re-mix of inherited, but more importantly, selected social, commercial and artistic movements. The citation of different cultural contexts highlights a personal subjectivity and experience that is constantly in motion, more adaptable than fixed. Saldamando's works question fixed assumptions about a subject, and in turn, reflect the flexibility and fluidity of a personal and projected identity. The existence of her subjects portrayed in this context confirms the ineffectiveness of reductionism and questions generalizations used to dismiss work as strictly identity politics or ethnic-based art. Rather than contextualize her artwork as a strictly conceptual practice, portraiture revision, lowbrow illustration or an exercise in camp, Saldamando recognizes the vast number of different influences that inspire her as well as all artists. Refusing to abandon representational painting, the artist rejects notions of art history as a strictly linear and modernist concept. Her work illustrates the constant re-mixing and rhizomatic way subjectivity and art practice come to be, giving nod not only to conceptual art movements, but craft art as well.
With an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, and a fellowship from International Artist Residency, Art Omi, Shizu Saldamando has participated in group shows throughout the country including Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, DePauw University in Indiana, and Ethan Cohen Fine Arts in New York. In 2006 she was a recipient of the California Community Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Visual Artists and was featured in Tu Ciudad magazine's top 25 Latinos to look out for. She is also a featured artist in the upcoming Phantom Sightings exhibition of new Chicano/a art at LACMA scheduled for April of 2008.