Thursday, July 3, 2014

Rigoberto A. Gonzalez: Tierra de Nadie

Ben Bailey Gallery
On View:  July 1 – August 28, 2014
Artist Talk:  August 28, 3:30PM at The Little Theatre
Closing Reception : August 28, 6-8PM 

The latest art exhibit at the Ben Bailey Art Gallery on the Texas A&M University-Kingsville campus is both historic and thought-provoking. 
Tierra de Nadie (Nobody’s Land) by Rigoberto A. Gonzalez brings his theme of merging historic folklore and contemporary border issues to light in this show that runs from Tuesday, July 1 through Thursday, Aug. 28.
Gonzalez will give an artist talk at 2:30 p.m. Aug. 28 in The Little Theatre. A closing reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 28 in the Bailey Art Gallery.
Because of the content of this exhibit, it is rated PG-13 with parental guidance suggested for children 13 and younger.
“The theme running through the paintings is a merger of historic folklore and the contemporary border issues affecting Mexico and the United States—the brutality associated with drug cartels and the people involved in illegal immigrations,” Gonzalez said.
“In my paintings, I create a dialogue between the depictions of violence by Caravaggist Baroque painters with the portrayal of violence in corridos-folk ballads from Northern Mexico-and narcocorridos-corridos inspired by the narcotic trade and war,” he said. “Essentially, a corrido tells a story; it is usually a narrative with a violent theme. In the past, singers would document the lives of Mexican revolution heroes and community events, but recently, narcocorrido writers have become influenced by the lives of drug smugglers and media reports of violent events.
“Through their knowledge of rhyme and verse, they make an unpleasant story pleasing to the ear. Similarly, Caravaggio and his followers through their use of dramatic chiaroscuro--light and dark--their histrionic intentions and discreet judgment--visual verse--were able to embellish a martyrdom scene,” he said. “Following this tradition, I take the images generated by the ongoing war with the drug cartels and make them pleasing to the eye. My corridos, like Caravaggist paintings, are not prose but visual verse.”
Born and raised in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico, Gonzalez knows firsthand of the unique border dynamics and heightened tensions between the drug cartels and Mexican government. Reynosa has become one of the hardest hit cities of cartel-related deaths and violence, and Gonzalez’s paintings serve as records of the ongoing crisis in his attempt to “humanize the conflict.”
The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 361-593-3401. 
About Rigoberto A. Gonzalez
Gonzalez lives in Harlingen and is an art teacher at Harlingen High School and an adjunct professor at University of Texas Pan American. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from University of Texas Pan American and a master’s degree in fine arts from the New York Academy of Art.
His work has been exhibited in numerous galleries, including the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center and Texas Biennial in Austin, the Houston Art League and Talento Bilingue de Houston in Houston, the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for Visual Arts in El Paso and the Las Cruces Museum of Art and the Roswell Museum and Art Center in New Mexico.
He has completed artist residencies at the Roswell Art Residency Program, Rancho del Cielo, University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College. He received a grant from the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture.