Interconnections by Dixie Salazar
July 5 - September 8

     The work in this exhibit has been in progress for over five years. I became interested in Meso American culture while doing research for a book and then even more intrigued when I visited Monte Alban, the site of Mayan ruins in Mexico
and also came upon the Popul Vu, the only Mayan texts to survive the Spanish conquest.

 This work continues that of previous bodies of work which have utilized found imagery such as antique and scientific illustrations, popular culture advertising, recovered undersea and planetary images.      
     Mystery and correspondence with the past have always been important aspects of my art, and this current work continues previous explorations of the emotional impact of ancient, and in this case, Mayan imagery on contemporary life concerns. The Mayan quest for enlightenment led them to search for the secret connections between things. “They believed that all things were interrelated and ultimately joined into one stupendous whole.” 1 In this and many other beliefs, they were well ahead of their time. At the core of their concept of cosmic duality, we find profound paradox, which resonates with my own explorations. The principle of duality can be  illustrated by the bird deity, Itzan Yeh, “the
Bringer of Magic” a cosmic monster bird thatsymbolized the wild, untamed forces of nature that are the source of both life and death, creation and destruction. Like many artists, I am interested in exploring the inner world, not visible and mysterious, “the unearthly life dwelling behind everything.” 2 Mayans believed they could enter the divine cosmos through the 01 portal and by itzing they utilized painting, but also sculpture, writing and mask making as artists of their own
lives. Itz was the sacred substance that carried divine soul essence (sap, blood, etc.) This was incorporated in many of their sacrificial ceremonies and rituals, that we would rightly discard today as uncivilized brutality, but the serial wars and gun worshiping violence that are part of our culture are no less bloody and horrific and have taken far more lives historically.
The idea of duality crosses over the boundaries of many world myths and cultures and also bridges the fields of philosophy and Jungian psychology which believes all myths have the same basic psychological meanings for all peoples and cultures. Mayan gods and demons depict aspects of our own souls and their stories express the interaction of the spirit and psyches within contemporary man/woman. Jung’s idea of the shadow, the reverse mirror image, the subconscious darker stirrings also mirrors much of the Mayan duality beliefs as does the new physics, with subatomic particles emerging from matter-less dimensions and other quantum mechanics phenomenon. Modern cosmology suggests that other space/time worlds exist and the Mayan belief in portals between dimensions of reality finds parallels in black and white holes and wormhole theories. Drawing from these sources, my paintings attempt to generate new connections.

     My work attempts to juxtapose the Mayan symbology with many other images of current concern. For example, the painting “Ring of Fire—Into the Flames” hints at a kind of dire, fire ritual with allusions to Underworld/Inferno/ and fire sacrifice (as referenced in the Popul Vu). There are also modern images of war, technological dangers of nuclear energy, and over dependence on non-sustainable energy sources, pollution from industrial waste, etc. Duality suggests the inherent dangers of a society enslaved by technology but also the possibility for rebirth and renewal. It should be noted that this idea is completely different from the good versus evil that permeates so much of modern thinking (dualism).
     The process of using these new (old) mediums and images explores correlations between the smallest life forms, the  undersea world and the cosmic. In between all that is the place we inhabit, a place we are currently destroying at an alarming rate. Admittedly, this is wide ranging territory, but the new global lens demands a more complex and all encompassing perspective. Concerns about ecosystem destruction, plastic consumerism, technological inversion, and paternalistic, power based domination increase awareness of our interconnectedness with each other and the environment. If there is ambiguity, my intent is to let the juxtapositions (of cultural images and icons) resonate with each other and connect the dots between past and present sociological concerns that overlap. Perhaps the end of the Mayan long count calendar is the end of a cycle of destruction and a turn of the wheel into a newer, more enlightened consciousness one that integrates our darker impulses and re-evaluates our greedy priorities, placing higher values on art, creativity, and nurturing of humankind and the earth. I hope the viewer discovers feelings, thoughts and concerns in these offerings that intrigue, raise questions and invite further viewings and maybe also prompts a written dialogue in the book provided.

Existence by Mauro Carrera

July 5 - September 8

     Sounds, sensations, and fragments of awareness that are difficult to define or even explain are some things we all feel. Remnants of memories and present perceptions question who and what we are. By seeking to understand what simply cannot be defined as emotion, I have therefore created works inspired  by elements of our past and present to explore what i believe is a universal trait of life; a desire to understand time and existence.

 Relating this concept to other species, I believe, can give perspective to this continuous search. The “imaginative” filter I added to this body of work allows the answers to be multidimensional. The best way for me to begin to understand this question was through the execution of this work. I never came to a conclusion, but only experienced moments where I was able to grasp a better understanding of this conundrum.

Tetl :  Mesoamerican Roots By Which We Live and Follow

By Marisela Oropeza and Ricardo Gallardo

July 5 - September 8
     The origin of our work dates back to pre-Hispanic times when our Mexican ancestors left a mark, not only in our livesand culture, but also in stone and ceramic vessels of all sorts. The meaning behind these images is numerous. Eachimage pertains to a different region in Mexico and relates the lives of Mesoamerican people; what they wore, what they looked like, what they did and what they worshiped. The people of these areas are distinguished by their uniquecreativity and artistic abilities and the stone images that we represent in our work are a great example of thisindigenous ingenuity.
     In order to achieve a resemblance of such remarkable images left from our ancestors, we decided to use a method ofadding layers of paint and sand over canvas and thus, achieve a stone-like effect along with a low-relief, and in theprocess, provide similarities in design. We do this with great respect and admiration for those who came before us andpaved the way to a culturally rich Mexico.