I feel like it's almost too late to be writing about "Papel y Madera", an astounding collection of culturally and politically charged art at Crewest. For one, the show closes this weekend after a month long run. And it's been more than two weeks since I spoke with curator and featured artist Oscar Magallanes.The exhibition features his recent work on paper and wood, along with a selection of prints from Self Help Graphics.
On interview day -- arranged by LatinoLA contributing writer Mia Arzola -- we both got to the gallery at the same time: Oscar on bike from his studio and me walking from my downtown home. But the place was closed. We chatted while waiting, then he suggested we eat at the Vietnamese caf?® on the corner.
Most of my recent interviews have been phoners ÔÇª scheduled phone calls with my list of questions on the computer screen that I fill as the answers come. I didn't want to bring out the Mac while we ate, so it stayed in the backpack. So...
I can't give you quotes from Oscar. I can tell you, however, the words he spoke were eloquent and earthy, wise (both street and school) and filled with historical context and cultural fluidity.
We finished lunch and walked to the airy gallery/retail space, now open. The walls were filled with Oscar's small, medium and large-scale pieces are wildly bold, ornate, detailed. Some of the broody and bright-colored pieces were rooted in Mexico's ancient secrets and truths. Others engaged the Americas, giving color and context to political and social activism and its movers.
The images on the screen give a hint of the visceral boldness of the work on the walls. You have to see them live and in the quiet.
Oscar has a comprehensive website, complete with blog and many images of his work, archived since 2007. Here's a link to the "Papel y Madera" opening, a video by Alex Rodriguez.
Here's what's next with Oscar, an artist of progress and promise, from an email:
"What's next, I will have a be painting a piano for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra's Play Me, I Am Yours county wide exhibit. Also working on a sculpture that is going into a show at the Maloof Garden titled Sculpture in the Garden that opens April 26th. I will be having show at Eastside Luv in July. I will have more info on that show in the next few weeks"
"Papel y Madera" is up through April 1. Gallery hours are Thurday, noon-7pm, Friday and Saturday from noon-8pm and Sunday from noon-6pm. So there's plenty of time to bike, metro, drive or walk to the gallery located at 110 Winston St., Los Angeles, CA 90013. Make it a day; explore more of downtown's neighborhoods while you're there.