Tuesday, December 02, 2014


Pre-hispanic Mexico, Colonial Mexico, Modern Mexico, 2013, Acrylic on Canvas

ModernDallas.net re-post of my article

On Payne Street a new vision for the Dallas gallery scene is taking form. From the outside, bold boxie letters declare TEXAS MILL EQUIP. CO. but the gallery space is called Cydonia, directed by Hanh Ho. The gallery’s first show featured ideas on masculinity with several artists participating in the question of what new boundaries might be emerging. The current show features the work of Julieta Aguinaco and her exploration of the experience of time.

It may not be too obvious that the show about about experiencing time and space, but Julieta Aguinaco leaves the viewer a great number of clues. Notably, the rack of clothes with corresponding photos of herself. 101 photos show Aguinaco wearing her own clothes, as well as her mother’s, and grandmother’s. The actual clothes hang in the gallery. Aguinaco acts as a genetic link to her family and a caretaker of her family’s historical past through these dresses. She plays the role of the past individuals that wore these items as well as her present self. The future intent of the dresses and images will hopefully be entrusted to individuals who take it upon themselves to become caretakers.

Aguinaco imagines time experienced of the soil, structures, and political climates in her landscape paintings. Border walls and gates hold a prominent position in these images, but the barriers are incomplete and open. Lines jet out over a painting with no clear horizon line. One could infer in the paintings a narrative of two countries with shared contentious history. But the colors and movement feel optimistic, as if Aguinaco knows that things will work out with time and effort which could wear down any physical border.

The road signs hold as much or more power as the clothes and photos. These signs for space indicated Aguinaco’s travels around Mexico City. Each place has a history and also a moment in time when Aguinaco found herself there. The middle row reflects the Roman Catholic cultural influences while the top row names reflect the Aztec cultures that once thrived before the Spanish arrived. Finally, the bottom signs reflect the ideas of the Modern world with names like Revolucion and Progreso. Aguinaco displays the names in a narrative timeline based on Western structures of organizing time. Top to bottom and right to left is the displayed structure. An archaeologist or perhaps Michel Foucault might have displayed these histories with the Aztec at the bottom and the Modern period at the top.

I can’t look at the sign paintings without reflecting on On Kawara’s date paintings. Where Aguinaco’s painting signifies history and personal experience, On Kawara captures the moment. By default, he also manages to capture history and personal experience as days past from the production of the painting. Aguinaco goes a bit further by including Place.

Julieta Aguinaco runs through December 27th. I look forward to more thought provoking shows from the gallery named Cydonia, located on Payne Street in Dallas, Texas. Where mill equipment was once stored, and before that maybe an American Bison might have roamed.

ModernDallas.net for more images.

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