Luis De Jesus Los Angeles - Logo image

Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
2685 S La Cienega Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90034 | T 310 838 6000

This is My Country

Sep 07 - Oct 20, 2007

artist list

Chris Ballantyne

Chris Barnard

Miyoshi Barosh

Graham Caldwell

Cathy de la Cruz

Martin Durazo

Marcelino Goncalves

Laurel Nakadate

Andre Schoultz

Jason Sherry


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press release


LUIS DE JESUS SEMINAL PROJECTS is very pleased to present the gallery's inaugural exhibition, THIS IS MY COUNTRY, September 7 through October 20, 2007. Participating artists include Chris Ballantyne, Chris Barnard, Miyoshi Barosh, Graham Caldwell, Cathy de la Cruz (UCSD MFA candidate), Martin Durazo, Marcelino Goncalves, Laurel Nakadate, Andre Schoultz, and Jason Sherry (SDSU grad and 2007-2008 San Diego Art Prize nominee).

THIS IS MY COUNTRY is a response to our own specific place and time in history: our country engaged in a seemingly endless and unpopular war; our decline in status within the international community as a stalwart symbol of democracy and human rights; the unraveling of health and social support systems upon an increasingly diverse ethnic-but economically divided classes, the worsening economy due in large part to the collapse of the subprime mortgage market and weakening value of the U.S. dollar - the list goes on.

Set within this context, this exhibition examines some of the ways that younger contemporary artists are looking at themselves, the country, and the world around them in order to explore and question issues of identity-and how these views and definitions have evolved beyond earlier constructs from the last 20 or 30 years. The myriad interpretations reveal identity to be a subject that continues to generate tremendous attention and relevance for today's artists. In a sense, what is most evident by the works in this exhibition is that many of the same issues that preoccupied artists in the recent past are still being mined today by their younger counterparts. Likewise, what is most strikingly different is the tone and stance that these artists and their works take.

If the woman's and gay rights movements of the 1970s and 80s spurred the development of two very important branches of artistic thought and practice, then it could be said that the 21st Century has brought a renewed awareness to ideas of the physical body, sexuality and gender as signposts of the self. In the works of Laurel Nakadate and Marcelino Goncalves we are presented with rather flippant and cheeky images that are in marked contrast to the stringently defiant and demanding tone, not to mention - sharply political edge - of a lot of earlier feminist and gay art.

The idea of family, home, and consumer culture is explored in the works of filmmaker and video artist, Cathy de la Cruz, in the paintings and sculpture of Chris Ballantyne, and the multimedia sculptural installations of Martin Durazo. Their work offers insight into the American landscape - real, imagined, or drawn from memory - exploring the complex relationships between people and thier surroundings, as well as the rules, regulations and codes that shape human interaction and behavior.

Further insight into this cultural stew is provided by Chris Barnard, Miyoshi Barosh, and Graham Caldwell, whose more socially conscious and politically informed works offer subtle insight and commentary into notions of democratic ideals, patriotism, homeland security, government's intrusion into and surveillance of individuals private lives, and the erosion of civil liberties.

The recording of human history and human folly as seen through the rise and fall of nations and armies, heroes and villians, and their accomplishments and failures becomes a central leitmotif in the works of Andrew Schoultz and Jason Sherry. Their works capture a world full of human interference whose subjects constitute key players in an unfolding contemporary, modern fable about the pursuit (and abuse) of power, greed, and domination.