Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles
Alejandro Cartagena is based in Mexico City and works primarily in photography. Cartagena (b. 1977, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) lives and works in Monterrey, Mexico. His projects employ landscape and portraiture as a means to examine social, urban and environmental issues.
For his newest body of work, Cartagena has been collecting vernacular in and around Mexico City for the past two years. Fascinated with how images are constructed both as an aesthetic object and as a container of narratives and meanings, the artist has created his own archive.
The series is read as a commentary on the current socio-political status of Latin America. Cartagena explains his process and conceptual approach; “Through a meticulous and potentially failure-prone process, I am stripping these physical images from their direct representations by removing figures to create unique cutout silver gelatin prints. The result is a photographic structure that emerges from within the image and speaks to how we build what we see in most photographs. The photographic medium has used format, material, aesthetic and lighting structures to create a standard version of ourselves. Everything feels the same and what is left is a cultural construct of how we have built our identities through images. These new representations also connote larger issues in my Latin America, where we have become ‘no one’ in the midst of our social and political crisis. In the end, it seems anyone can disappear, and no one will ever give us answers.”
Rebecca Bird makes highly detailed paintings that explore intersections of personal and collective memory, subjectivity and interior states, while being rooted in a rigorous engagement with the craft and history of painting.
These paintings are monumental in scale based off of photographic images of cross-generational women. The paintings are situated in allegorical juxtaposition to create a dialogue between tropes of womanhood and the act of posing for a photograph. The images typify the independent kind of historic record made possible by home photography, that made by families and individuals for their own purposes, to create a record of their existence and appearance.
The scale of the works evoke the tradition of History Painting, reenactments of moments for the historic record, once considered the highest genre of painting based on the importance of the subject, the acts of great men. These works contrast with History Painting in that the moments depicted are mundane and the figures unknown.
Bird's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is in private and public collections including MoMA, New York. Bird holds a B.F.A. from the Cooper Union (2000), attended Yale Summer School (1999), and was a Fulbright Fellow to Japan (2000) in painting.