Back to Basics-Guel at cafebreria

Over the weekend, Antonio Guel opened his show Estetica fronteriza at Sol y Luna Cafebreria Here he is exploring the textures and materials used in the houses and structures in Anapra. He uses building materials on canvas as well as painting rows of shacks-brown monotones flat against the sky. In some of his work he paints hyperrealistic wooden texture, while in others he uses cement and building materials set into canvas. Of course, painting the windswept deserted walls of this area is not necessarily new; other artists have used them for other reasons. In some cases they were exploring texture, while for others it might be a metaphor. Here there seems to be an attempt at breaking down to bare essentials what is being constructed and painted. Guel is showing this urban landscape from its  most basic element. By doing this, he is revealing more than the structures; he is showing the aesthetic which permeates, and a bleakness which is perhaps all encompassing. The shacks lined up across the canvas allow no entrance; only in one instance is the huge desert sky revealed above the buildings. The choice of materials, the choice of colors; the design, or lack of it, of the buildings; all of this provides material for an examination of the current frontier aesthetic found in dusty streets in certain areas of the border.
There is also a showing of superbly executed  black and white photography by students from UACj. I was going to mention the recent show by students from IADA, such as Melani Rubiera Pereda whose piece Y tu quien featured light bulbs wrapped in purple paper, each one containing a word for an individual like ‘yo” “usted’ carved into it so the light shone through the letters. Her project had been to work with light. In any case, the exhibit is no longer up, but was interesting in showing what students were up to. There was a mirror (which broke during the opening) containing a narrative and various explorations of identity and reality.-david sokolec

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