26 Jan La Luz De Jesus Gallery presents Super Exitos by Wick Alexander
Opening Reception: Saturday. February 8, 8-11 PM
La Luz de Jesus Gallery is pleased to present Super Exitos, a solo exhibition featuring the work of Wick Alexander on view from February 7 – March 1, 2020.
A San Diego native who grew up just miles north of the US Mexico border, Wick Alexander has witnessed part of the US history of colonization and xenophobia from his own back window. In this collection of paintings, made in the late 80s and early 90s, Alexander implements his twist on the History Painting genre to express the US’ profoundly backward history of Mexican colonization and national fear. But, through Alexander’s observant American eye, he inserts himself into an account that is not his own, and this ever-present American eye imbues his compositions with an uncomfortable feeling of being watched. He uses his white perspective as a pictorial interlocutor into, not only the suffering of the Mexican people but also, the capitalistic exotification of the “naive” and the passive voyeurism with which the U.S. burdens Mexico. This body of work was made in direct contemporaneous response to rising governmental fear and racism that accompanied the building of a new steel border wall. Intended to prevent illegal Mexican immigration and to quell increasing American fear, this “steel curtain” became a symbol of American hate, ignorance, and exclusion. It acts as a physical boundary, a harshly inserted cultural boundary, and symbolically, a panoptic mark of American power and surveillance. Unfortunately, this body of work is as relevant in 2020 as it was in 1991. This continued relevance illuminates the pattern of toxic American fear and seemingly never-ending motifs of xenophobia, colonialism, and hatred in US politics.
Since 1980, San Diego native Wick Alexander has been producing distinctive paintings, sculptures and public artworks. Awards for his paintings have been presented by the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, and the Ford Foundation. His paintings are included in many private collections and permanent museum collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, the California Center for the Arts in Escondido, and the Banff Center of the Arts in Alberta, Canada. Alexander has shown his work at the California Center for the Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, the CECUT in Tijuana, and, most recently, at the San Diego History Center and the Oceanside Museum.