Often reconstructing and reimagining everyday objects to address cultural and political concerns, artists Margarita Cabrera and Cisco Jiménez are bound by conceptual practices and masterful, reverent approaches to one of the fine art world’s most contested designations: craft. Known for works that are playful on the exterior but reveal deeper — and often darker — contexts upon closer inspection, the two artists were brought together for concurrent solo shows by Ruiz-Healy Art (RHA) to highlight “the dialogue they share with the handmade, and the conceptual way they converse issues of violence, migration and memory.”
A native of Monterrey, Mexico, Cabrera aims to create social consciousness through her work, which has taken shape in sewn vinyl sculptures of vacuum cleaners, sewing machines, cacti, automobiles and kitchen appliances that appear deflated, wilted and even unfinished thanks to tendrils of dangling thread. Frequently collaborating with artistic communities, Cabrera rounded up 700 participants for her large-scale Arbol de la Vida: Voces de Tierra, a public art project to be unveiled in October along the Mission Reach. Offering a bit of a preview, her RHA exhibition “Collaborative Work” combines sculpture, textiles, watercolor and prints related to Arbol de la Vida and other community projects.
No stranger to community collaborations himself, Cuernavaca native Jiménez worked for two years with Nahuas artisans in the Mexican state of Guerrero on Radiograbadoras de Barro — a project that employs covetable ceramic boom boxes and chaotic, homespun collages to address violence, immigration, pop culture and nostalgia. The boom box reappears alongside mixed-media collages and Mesoamerican motifs in his “Sounds from the Archeological Time Machine,” an exhibition RHA likens to both a “time capsule” and “a pseudo-archaeological account of the products, food and materials we consume daily.”
Free, Wed May 23 6-8pm (on view 11am-4pm Tue-Sat through June 30), Ruiz-Healy Art, 201 E. Olmos Drive, (210) 804-2219, ruizhealyart.com.
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