Art in Review
GenNext: Future So Bright Reboot at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art
It is to the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art’s credit that its current show of local and regional Hispanic artists is focused on contemporary work. It is the museum’s first group exhibition to do so.
Last year, had a planned closing date of Nov. 25, 2018, but the show was given an extension to March 29, 2019, so that more works and artists could be added to the mix. This survey features works by emerging and established artists that stem from — and reference — longstanding traditions in the Hispanic arts of New Mexico, reaching as far back as the Spanish Colonial era. The artists in however, push the boundaries of these art forms, which include bulto carvings, retablo paintings, furniture-making, tinwork, and more. On the whole, the works are bold, graphic, and often elegantly realized and presented. Many of the themes explored are relevant to issues currently facing many New Mexicans, as well as the nation, such as immigration issues and controversies in the Catholic church.
Spanish Colonial art forms are not the only contexts for the styles in which the works are rendered. For example, the reductive imagery in William Lyday’s painting recalls the spare, illustrative style of New York Pop artist Keith Haring. Despite its lack of fine detail, the painting’s central figure of the Virgin is still recognizable as an icon of religious faith. The floral and saintly motifs that often surround the haloed figure of the Virgin in traditional depictions are here rendered as Haringesque symbols, nominal forms that convey the same essence. Lyday, along with Frank A. Blazquez, Autrey Macias, Michael Martinez, and Alberto Zalma, is among the artists who were added to the exhibition in its November reboot.
Brandon Maldonado looks to modernism for inspiration, painting vivid compositions in a format he calls “Neo-Picassoism.” The Cubist appearance of the figures in Maldonado’s paintings is in homage to the Spanish modernist, but the works are not imitative, settling for cartoonlike satirism rather than strict pastiche. Many of Maldonado’s figurative forms are calaveras, the skeletal icons of the Mexican Day of