Bleeding heart radical Chicana art

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I confess to loving Mexican bleeding heart imagery, retablos, and Frida Kahlo. So when I saw that Chicana (i.e. Mexican-American) artist Carmen Lomas Garza was having a show at Swarthmore’s List Gallery I squeezed it right into my crazy First Friday schedule.

If I were writing a film thumnail or book-jacket thumbnail I might describe the work as Grandma Moses meets Frida Kahlo, but that would be unfair, because it would call into question the freshness of Lomas Garza’s vision.

Lomas Garza, whose art grew out of her anger toward the discrimination she suffered growing up in Texas, manages to transcend the political anger and lovingly depict tejana quotidien culture and community. But there’s a razor-edged sharpness, beauty and clarity that protects the work from sentimentality.

With delicate colors, rhythmic compositions, primitive (but sophisticated) solutions to perspective issues, and a sense of the magical, Lomas Garza uses guaches, oils and prints, as well as traditional Mexican paper cut-outs–and metal cutouts based on them (shown, metal cutout detail from Day of the Dead ofrenda to her grandfather, Antonio Lomas).

Worth the trip to Swarthmore, folks.

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