From its roots within the urban American experience of the 1960-70s, contemporary hip-hop culture has evolved into an expressive language that transcends cultural and national boundaries. Formerly subversive modes of expression, such as graffiti, rap, appropriation, and breakdancing have now become flexible strategies for personal and political communication that spans all racial, national, and economic groups. The exhibition features four contemporary artists (Ruben Aguirre iROZEALb, Jaque Fragua, and Kelly Monico) who employ strategies drawn from street art practices and Hip Hop culture within the context of fine art. A series of discussions, performances, and events will complement the exhibition.
The exhibition will uncover the tensions created when graffiti motifs are removed from lived, public spaces and realized into two-and three-dimensional forms. Themes addressed include: an examination the relationship between the self-definition inherent in the creation street art and the drive toward individual expression of Abstract Expressionism; the power of poetic insurrection within public spaces; and the creation of hybrid identities through cultural appropriations. In addition to the gallery exhibition, artists Ruben Aguirre and Jaque Fragua will create murals on campus.
FEATURED ARTIST INFO:
RUBEN AGUIRRE draws from his background as a graffiti artist to create his lyrical explorations of color, line and shape. His work consists of large scale abstract paintings and site specific murals that play off architecture, location, color and negative space.
iROZEALb uses her large-scale acrylic paintings to wryly comment on the ductile and ever-changing essence of cultural identity, most often by creating visual mash-ups of two disparate but in fact subtly harmonious subcultures: the samurai and geishas depicted in traditional Japanese ukiyo-e printmaking and the contemporary world of hip-hop.
JAQUE FRAGUA is an acclaimed multi-media artist from New Mexico. From his cultural background, he has developed a yearning for creativity and for the intrinsic process that is Art. Experimenting with various mediums, such as aerosol, found-objects, earthworks, poetry, & music, messages of civil unrest, social justice, emotional introspection, and personal healing have heartened his unique perspective on life through art.
KELLY MONICO is a new media artist, who primarily creates site-specific video installations. Her work often addresses gender roles and the invention of identities, with technology playing a pervasive role.