Monday, December 03, 2012

Bernardo Cantu at Bath House and 500X

Temple of San Enik repost

Few people on this planet are truly unique individuals, Bernardo Cantu is one of those lucky few and you will agree after you have seen his art work. I think his approach is so different, because I find him thoughtful in his choice of ideas and I admire his manipulation and selection of materials. A true mix master of his surroundings and of our collective past that when you see his art objects, you might first get the impression that he comes from another galaxy.

If you look closely at his sculptural/paintings, you will find a few key elements that will clue you into his thought processes. One important idea is his exploration of the past/present “relics from an alien Latino culture.” Cantu combines textile patterns first originated in the 17th century. These traditional Mexican Sarapes are stuffed, stretched, and sometimes painted over. He plays with popular culture, but instead of directly referencing existing products, Cantu invents products from his alternate Latino reality. Other times he stretches bold materials designed and produced in the 1980’s. Tubing is concealed by fabric in some works; while in others he allows these tubes to protrude like vines that spawn new painted objects. Cantu is akin to much of the New Baroque styles that play with kitsch, but he has distinguished his work through an honest investigation of the past to make his incredible leap forward.

I can easily imagine his work becoming center pieces to a Santeria ritual or a fixture in a Catholic’s home, because his painting projects are a home grown transcendence. It is no wonder J R Compton and Terry Hays included his work in the group show “Cura! Cura! Cura!” at the Bath House Cultural Center. The show is a mix of artists that are attempting to push some boundaries, but Cantu is beyond boundaries, he is blazing trails like an Avant Guard. He is like a budding art star, still working in small venues and making extremely good art, but he deserves a solo show in a place like the DMA, because his presence and talent is so much bigger than life.

Scientists have found simple sugar around forming stars. But you don’t need a telescope to see something sweet that looks out of this world, you just need to visit the Bath House Cultural Center this week and next week visit 500X, because Bernardo Cantu is a star on the rise. for more pictures.

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