Diversity has come to comic books. As women and minority consumption of comic books and graphic novels has risen, so has the push to diversify its representation of superheroes: an African-American Captain America, a female Thor, and a Puerto Rican Spider-Man named Miles Morales, to name a few re-workings of the superhero stories we know so well. The Latino artists in this exhibition explore cultural and social issues of identity and otherness through the visual language of comic books, science fiction and superheroes and expand on the mythology of the superhero.
Carlos Donjuan brings us the surreal with his playful and unusual paintings of masked figures, hybrid animal people, pyramid, and blob creatures which play with the absurdity of the term “alien” when referencing the undocumented. The figures in his paintings are often young Latino youth, some undocumented, with their faces concealed behind shapes and patterns of color. These layered portraits illustrate the journey these superheroes have embarked on in the search of a better life. Hector Hernandez’ gorgeously minimal and provocative Hyperbeast series reduces the idea of superheroes into a language of form, color, and geometry to transcend notions of identity, race, and gender.
Dulce Pinzón’s award-winning photography series, The Real Story of the Superheroes, features real-life Latino immigrants working the toughest jobs in New York City. Pinzón has captured New York’s Latino immigrant working class in their daily work environment but dressed as well-known American and Mexican superheroes; in doing so, this series asks us to re-examine our definition of hero and shows us that immigrants are the real superheroes. Finally, Bay Area-based artist Rio Yañez wittily teams up famous American superheroes with heroes of Chicanismo. In Yañez’s re-envisioning of the superduo he seamlessly pairs the likes of Batman with Chicano performance artist Guillermo Gomez-Peña in a print series that envisions creative collaborations that fight injustice and comment on social issues. Visit www.maclaarte.org for more information.
Dates: August 27 – November 15, 2014
Opening Night Party: South First Fridays, September 5, 2014, 7:00 pm
Gallery Hours: Wednesday & Thursday, 12-7 pm; Friday & Saturday, 12-5 pm; and, by appointment
Location: MACLA, 510 South 1st Street, San José, CA 95113 Tickets: Free Website: www.maclaarte.org