“FAMILIAR GROUND” by Abel Alejandre
Artist Reception: Sunday, February 14, 2010 4p-7p
Exhibition: February 11 to March 6, 2010
Familiar Ground is a body of work which journals a personal family history. It is a panoramic view of my manhood. It is delivered through old world traditions in a modern era. With fragments and layers of the men in my family, I illustrate the living contradictions, which surround me. The patriarchs of the family battle over what manhood means between them and those whose lives they seek to guide. The aggressive physical expressions amongst each other and women often collide and merge like two rivers in a rush to certainty. The sexual appetite we posses is always building up until its ravenous desire overpowers our intellect. The minimal communication we participate in often alienates us from those we love and care for. The sibling rivalry and competitive nature regularly ostracizes the more gentle souls amongst us and our restrained emotions anchor us to further self-isolation.
ABEL ALEJANDRE: Familiar Ground is a debut solo exhibition of new work by the Los Angeles artist. Chronicling his family history, Alejandre tackles personal issues that include masculinity, patrimony, sexuality, aggression and isolation. In “My Fathers,” a massive woodcut measuring four by eight feet, the artist has exquisitely rendered the image of two men. The older man’s weathered face reveals evidence of a hard life and his eyes fill with tears as he stares poignantly into space. Perhaps alluding to this man’s past behavior, Alejandre has organized the composition so that the viscous teeth of a confrontational dog line up perfectly with the old man’s mouth, creating a stark symbolism. The younger man is illuminated, gazing upward in contemplation, as if planning his future. The juxtaposition of these two men is uncomfortable but like all of Alejandre’s work, masterfully drawn and undeniably beautiful. The exhibition also includes intimately scaled and meticulously crafted graphite drawings on primed wood panels.