Hector Dionicio Mendoza was born in 1969 in Uruapan, Michoacan, Mexico and is an artist, curator, and educator based in the agricultural community of the Salinas Valley in California. He is the recipient of the 2022 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Grant and his work was a highlight in the California Biennial 2022 at the Orange County Museum of Art. In his review of the exhibition in the Wall Street Journal, Peter Plagens writes, "There are some gems...and my personal favorite—a truly witty work—“Coyota” (2020), a huge folksily surrealist wall-relief portrayal of the animal by Hector Dionicio Mendoza." Jonathan Griffin included Mendoza in his New York Times feature "5 Artists to Watch at the California Biennial." In addition, Mendoza was nominated for the SFMOMA’s SECA Award and the 2023 Fundación de Arte Cisneros Fontana, CIFO Award.
Mendoza grew up with a great appreciation for the importance of faith, ritual, and alternative healing traditions as practiced by his grandfather, a fifth-generation curandero (shaman) of Afro-Caribeño lineage whose ancestors migrated to Michoacan via Cuba. He practiced a hybrid form of Yoruba-Purépecha comprised of traditional religious and spiritual concepts of Catholicism with African curanderismo and ethnobotany, as well as the pre-conquest polytheistic animistic rites and customs of the indigenous Purépecha people which are rooted in the reverence of ancestors and spirits in nature. In Mexico as well as Central and South America, the curandera/o plays an important role to many people embarking on the long and challenging journey to El Norte/The North (the United States), providing blessings and protection before they depart in search of a better way of life. This ancestral matrice forms the foundation for Mendoza's ambitious and expansive multimedia practice, with it's surprising explorations and unconventional use of natural, organic, synthetic and recycled materials, and explores themes of migration and the environment as well as the geographies of place, memory, identity, and the visualization of immigrant stories.
At the age of twelve Mendoza, along with his family, immigrated to the small town of King City, California, in the ranching and agriculture region located on the Salinas River, along U.S. Route 101 in the Salinas Valley of California's Central Coast, and featured prominently in John Steinbeck's novel East of Eden. After graduating from high school with honors he was awarded a scholarship to attend California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo, where he studied graphic design. His interest in this discipline led him to study fine arts at California College of the Arts in San Francisco where he was awarded the President's Fellowship, a full ride scholarship, and graduated magna cum laude in 2001 with a BFA degree. He received his MFA from Yale University in 2009.
After completing his Bachelor’s, Mendoza was invited to several artist-in-residence programs and exhibitions in Europe, including a six-month residency at Kunst Futur in Switzerland (2000), The Bossard Project in Berlin (2001), Casa Santos in Barcelona (2002), and The Putney Arts Center in London (2003). His awards include the Fleishhacker Foundation’s Eureka Fellowship (2004), Kunst Now (2005) in Berlin, and Eco-Conciente (2007) in Mexico City.
Mendoza was awarded the prestigious Lucas Artist Residency (2015) at Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, CA, where he collaborated with Amalia Mesa-Bains, Viviana Paredes, and Steve White to create a space of healing, contemplation, memory, and collaboration entitled Creando Espacio/Place Making: Immigration, Rituals, and Transitoriness. Creando Espacio draws on Mendoza’s childhood memories, creating an outdoor dwelling that modernizes his grandfather’s healing space in Mexico to address the loneliness and isolation often felt by members of immigrant communities.
In 2021, working together with the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum and the department of Latinx studies Mendoza helped found and fund the inaugural Mariposa Prize, named after his work “Mariposa/Butterfly" which entered the museum's collection the same year. Mendoza described the award as an investment in young, emerging Latinx artists and scholars. Following his wishes, the inaugural Mariposa Prize encouraged students to “surround [themselves] with ideas, explore possibilities, experiment, be present and get involved with communities.”
Hector Dionicio Mendoza's work has been exhibited throughout the United States, Europe, Japan and Mexico. He lives in Salinas, CA and is currently an Associate Professor of Sculpture and Installation in the Visual and Public Art Department at California State University Monterey Bay.
HECTOR DIONICIO MENDOZA: Buscando Futuro / Looking For A Future exhibition walkthrough will be held on Saturday, February 10, at 2pm PST.
Hector Dionicio Mendoza’s work materializes oral histories, ancient wisdom, familial parables, and personal and communal experiences to engage the many myths and realities of migration. Combining an array of sculptural forms and materials—including assemblage, cast, and hand-sculpted techniques, along with found, salvaged and industrial materials, his works are informed and guided by his own personal experiences and the realities and politics of the U.S./Mexico border. Fluctuating between abstraction and figuration, it ignites our consciousness with narratives that embrace magical realism and Latinx/e futurism while exploring themes of migration and the environment, spirituality, as well as the geographies of place, memory, identity, and the visualization of immigrant stories that expand upon a new latinidad.
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is delighted to announce the acquisition of Hector Dionicio Mendoza's Familia Universal/ Universal Family by the Crocker Art Museum. Hector Dionicio Mendoza’s works are informed and guided by his own personal experiences and the realities and politics of the U.S./Mexico border. Familia Universal (Universal Family) commemorates the journey that many migrant families have made and continue to make in order to start a new life in the U.S. The gallery extends its most sincere appreciation to Scott Shields, curator at the Crocker Museum, and board member Simon K. Chiu for his generous support.
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles congratulates Hector Dionicio Mendoza on the acquisition of "Coyota/e", 2022, by OZ Art NWA in Bentonville, AR. We extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to Olivia Walton, co-founder and chair of OZ Art NWA, the board of the foundation, along with Chad Alligood, independent curator and art historian.
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is pleased to announce Hector Dionicio Mendoza as a recipient of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation 2022 Biennial Grant.
Twenty artists working in painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video, craft, and new media are awarded $20,000 USD each in unrestricted grants. Established in 1918 by Louis Comfort Tiffany, son of the founder of Tiffany & Company, the Foundation remains one of the largest single sources of monetary grants to artists working in America today.
Check out the closing of Michoacan-born mixed-media artist Hector Dionicio Mendoza, whose "Buscando Futuro/Searching for a Future" evokes mystical images of his fifth-generation curandero grandfather and uses everything from handmade tortillas and naan to cardboard and drywall screws to tell his queer migration story.
In Buscando Futuro / Searching for a Future, Hector Dionicio Mendoza presents mixed media floor and wall-based sculptures. The overarching theme of migration and the various ways both people and animals move from place to place is both subtly and overly communicated. Through the individual works, the installation itself becomes a journey of discovery, place and sense of self as articulated through the sensual assembling of unusual yet commonplace materials.
Our favorite story came from Mexican artist Hector Mendoza. As we entered a booth in the main show attracted by a huge sculpture of a wolf-like creature hanging from the back wall, Mendoza came smiling towards us and readily told us it was called Coyota, a tribute to his aunt Zenaida, who was one of the few females to smuggle immigrants across the Mexico-US border. She realized women were often beat and raped by the mostly male coyotes, after paying dearly for their services, so she took on the job to protect them as well as make a profit.
As the curtain falls on 2023, Art Basel Miami Beach 2023 stood as a grand finale in a packed calendar of art fairs. Attracting a staggering 79,000 visitors, North America’s largest art fair encapsulated this year’s trends and transformations. Throughout the fair, exhibitors reported a revived enthusiasm among attendees, with several galleries remarking on a robust return of collectors and the palpable energy that defined this year’s edition.
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles sold Hector Dionicio Mendoza’s Coyota/e (2022) to a prominent Southern art foundation. The gallery also sold two sets of Ken Gonzales-Day’s “Erased Lynchings V” postcards to separate “major East Coast institutions.” A large-scale sculpture by Hector Dionicio Mendoza, Jalando/Pulling (2020), sold to a bicoastal collector.
María Elena Ortiz, curator at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, picks her favorite works at Art Basel in Miami Beach.
The Mexican American artist Hector Dionicio Mendoza creates work that deals with “migration and futuristic styles, but also thinks about mythology,” Ortiz says. This sculpture depicts a figure with wooden legs carrying a globe-like object. “The artist is playing with the motif of aliens, as immigrants are called ‘aliens’ in this country,” Ortiz adds.
A new installation at Redwood City's Art Kiosk aims to shed light on the issues surrounding undocumented immigrants' hardships in modern-day America. The work is a product of artist Hector Dionicio Mendoza and is called "Mil USOS/Labor Monument: Portrait of my aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters, brothers, others, parents, and grandparents."
A new installation at Redwood City's Art Kiosk aims to shed light on the issues surrounding undocumented immigrant's hardships in modern-day America. The work is a product of artist Hector Dionicio Mendoza and is called "Mil USOS/Labor Monument: Portrait of my aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters, brothers, others, parents, and grandparents."
A new installation at the Art Kiosk aims to shed light on the issues surrounding undocumented immigrants' hardships in modern-day America. The new installation is a product of artist Hector Dionicio Mendoza and is entitled Mil USOS/Labor Monument: Portrait of my aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters, brothers, others, parents, and grandparents.
Mixed-media artist Hector Dionicio Mendoza has unveiled “Mil USOS/Labor Monument: Portrait of my aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters, brothers, others, parents and grandparents,” a public art installation on display at Redwood City’s Art Kiosk now through April 30. It shows “a figure kneeling on one knee to represent the millions of exploited immigrants that contribute to society in more ways than one,” she said, adding that the artwork’s name, “Mil Usos” translates to “One Thousand Uses.”
“Pacific Gold,” the resuscitated survey’s 2022 edition, offers a revelatory look at fresh art in the region, but not without controversy. COSTA MESA, Calif. — “Pacific Gold” is the swaggering title of the 2022 edition of the California Biennial, a regional survey that has been in existence, under various missions and monikers, since 1984.
The Orange County Museum of Art opened in its ultramodern 53,000-square-foot building in Costa Mesa last weekend with a 24-hour extravaganza featuring music, movies, dancing, guided tours and entertainment.
Strands of myth are woven through, seen in Hector Dionicio Mendoza’s cardboard “Coyota,” which sports human arms and legs, and Simphiwe Ndzube’s “Ndlovukazi,” which draws on folklore from his native South Africa.
In his massive sculpture Mariposa/Butterfly, Hector Dionicio Mendoza portrays the insect through a lens that blends power and elegance. Broad, sweeping wings extend in four quadrants from a driftwood thorax, which is topped with a large, muscular, metal hand, fingers tucked into a fist. The hand is coated in golden paint, which seems to trickle down its black forearm as though it is blood. Whose hand is raised here, and why is it raised in protest?
The Mount Holyoke College Art Museum and the department of Spanish, Latina/o and Latin American studies announced a new student award, the inaugural Mariposa Prize. The prize was funded by and based around the work of Hector Dionicio Mendoza, a mixed- media artist who teaches in the visual and public art department at California State University, Monterey Bay.
Mendoza created White Wilderness/Maleza Blanca at the invitation of the museum. Chief Curator Maria Esther Fernández was first impressed with his work about seven years ago when he was part of a group exhibit at the Triton. She kept him on her radar for the future for a major, solo exhibit.
In 'White Wilderness,' sculptor deploys natural forms against violence and oppression.
Mendoza’s work in “White Wilderness/Maleza Blanca” is towering in scale, but they’re not simply heavy objects that take up space or to stare at in awe; they bear a meaningful, psychological weight.
On the second floor, hanging from the ceiling, two pairs of pants feature the words “MIGRA” and “NO ICE” affixed to the waist areas. These are the work of Hector Dionicio Mendoza, an artist who immigrated to America in the early 1980s at the height of punk music, and the pants look very much like artifacts of East L.A. Chicano punk history.
Mendoza is one of a group of artists displaying altars and installations for the exhibition, “Forgotten Stories, Remarkable Lives: Días de los Muertos 2012.” It’s part of the Oakland Museum of California’s 18th annual Days of the Dead, which remembers deceased loved ones and celebrates their lives.
There is so much junk mail clogging Bay Area mailboxes these days that one man built a monument out of it, 17 feet high. It could be the only thing that junk mail has ever been good for, said sculptor Hector Dio Mendoza.