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40 over 40: Latino-Identified Arts

Laura Schell

Editor’s Note: This article is not a roundup of over-40 Latino artists. This article is about prominent, talented artists over 4o years of age that exhibit art in self-identified Latino exhibition spaces, or in similarly themed shows. This article is part of Chicago Art Magazine’s “40 over 40” series

Marcos Raya

Marcos Raya

Marcos Raya invites the viewer into his dark world, where past mistakes and harrowing visions of the future are seen
in the warped perspective of the artist’s mind. His paintings, collages and mixed media installations hold power in disturbing autobiographical elements portrayed in dream-like scenes of pain and desperation. Motifs of surgical procedures and dissections signify human displacement and the sociological effects of technology’s invasion on everyday life. Raya is also well known for his murals painted during the Mexican/Chicano mural renaissance of the 1970s and 80s in Pilsen, the neighborhood where he still lives and works.

 

Paul Sierra

Paul Sierra

Paul Sierra observes man’s connection to nature. The subject’s face is rarely shown, and yet there is an intimate human presence to Sierra’s vibrant and texturally rich landscapes. His series of car crash paintings convey the fragility of this relationship. “I started to think about the fossils that we would leave behind.” His expressive brushstrokes, and attention to light create an impression of time moving beyond the moment captured on his canvas. The exaggerated perspectives and surreal imagery give the work a sense of nostalgia and mystery that leaves one wondering about the stories lying beneath the paint.

 

Eduardo De Soignie

Eduardo De Soignie

Eduardo De Soignie’s work questions whether place is needed to define one’s identity. Cuban folklore is an essential part to his work, connecting him to his native culture. But he also finds inspiration elsewhere, such as in the intricate landscape styles of Chinese paintings that demonstrate the conflict between land and water. “Even though most of my work focuses on the figure, the landscapes they inhabit are equally important.” A contrast in solid geometrical shapes to De Soignie’s more fluid “water markings” brings play to the dimensions of his work. For a moment the piece may appear flat in static space, but at a second glance begins to pop.

 

Oscar Martinez

Oscar Martinez

Oscar Martinez paints dynamic worlds of motion that feel new at every angle. Figures float in undefined spaces of busy abstraction created by carving and peeling away layers of paint. Martinez portrays his spiritual experiences that are otherwise unexplainable. “The idea that one can perceive a different reality or a different world than the one that is obvious to everyone fascinates me.” Martinez also has painted numerous murals around the city and is the founder of the Latin American Museum of Art that strives to expand arts education in Chicago.

 

Carlos “Dzine” Rolón

Carlos “Dzine” Rolón

Carlos “Dzine” Rolón captures the raw sexuality and aggressive glamour of music genres such as hip-hop, salsa and jazz. His sculptures, paintings, and installations resonate urban culture. Graffiti-like patterns in neon colors give a mesmerizing kaleidoscopic effect to his paintings and designs. Incorporating glitzy materials like metallic paint, gold leaf, and crystals, he transforms even the most mundane found object into a beautifully crafted artifact. The German publisher Gestalten will be releasing the artist’s first monograph, Dzine: The Beautiful Struggle, this spring.

 

Luis Romero

Luis Romero

Luis Romero’s multi-layer drawings create illusions of space. Using a variety of tools to make drawing marks, and exploring the sculptural possibilities of paper, Romero creates patterns that suggest unseen surfaces. “I like it when people are trying to see what is behind the drawing. If they can think that the drawing goes beyond the surface, that maybe the line continues somewhere else or in the infinite, that’s fantastic.” His work can range from large-scale pieces to more concentrated objects that fit in the palm of one’s hand. Either way, the composition is texturally dense, giving the work a powerful presence.

 

Sergio Gomez

Sergio Gomez

Sergio Gomez paints overlapping shadowed figures in vast backgrounds of charged color and natural textures. There is a spiritual consciousness that resides throughout his work. Some of the figures have wings or are encircled by what could be perceived as a halo and others lift their hands in a prayerful manner. But the artist prefers that his work be more about a presence than an identity. Gomez is a graphic designer, web designer, illustrator, art & design professor, and independent curator at the Zhou B. Art Center. He is also the director and co-founder of 33 Collective Gallery in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood, and the founder of VisualArtToday.com, a online exhibition space for international contemporary art.