Sobre Muros (Written on the Wall)

December 5, 2006 - January 30, 2007
reception: Tuesday, December 5, 2006 7 pm
Museo de Culturas Populares, San Cristobal, Chiapas, MX
Solo Show
The real history of a place is not found in books, but is more eloquently and honestly written on the Walls of the buildings that have born witness to the lives within. Reading the surfaces of San Cristobal’s colonial cob buildings, their earthen plasters stained by the rain, their countless layers of paint peeling, we find declarations of eternal love, frustrated mumblings and territorial markings. But this history is not written only by the hands of people; time, the weather, the constantly shifting shadows and slowly re-conquering plants also have their say.

Etched by wind and rain, faded by the daily sun, scribbled on by careless hands or boldly tatooed with political slogans, I find theses walls beautiful and constantly inspiring to my work. In Palenque's humid jungles the walls of Mayan ruins bear beautiful glyphs telling of the conquests of kings, but the mosses and algae declare natures ultimate victory over the ambitions of men.

I worry that San Cristobal’s colonial flair may be in danger. Patched and repatched most recently in concrete a comparatively lifeless and brittle material, replaced by new constructions in cinderblocks much has already been lost; and the newer parts of town lack almost entirely in charm. I see the everpresent bags of Cruz Azul™ Concrete as symbolic of the degrading influence of efficiency seeking sterility and the worst aspects of global capitalism.

An earthen wall can remain standing for countless centuries with minimal maintenace, but once its roofing is damaged the rain witll relatively quickly revert the wall to dirt from which the plants will sprout. Concrete on the otherhand remains grey and lifeless an inert skeleton in the landscape.

The production of Concrete is also a leading producer of polluting Greenhouse Gases. To activate the Portland Cement it must be heated to more than 1000 degrees celsius. Cob on the other hand couldn’t be more harmless.

Naturally this body of work is also metaphoric of my personal experiences over the course of a year and a half in beautiful San Cristobal de Las Casas.

Process:

The great majority of the work presented here is painted in oil on wood panels in a process based on techniques of Icon painting that date back to at least 1300 AD. The panels were first sized with glue, wrapped in cloth, sanded, then heavily textured with a homemade gesso of various proportions of skin glue, chalk, linseed oil, and cane sugar to achieve craculature, smootheness and other textures. Many layers of paint were aplied with brushes, rags, palete knife, then scraped through and glazed over.

Scraffito
Scraffito
Steady Stones of Palenque
Hasta Siempre
Doble Drenaje
Doble Drenaje
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