Pathos Along a Contemporary Frontier: Border Paintings by Rigoberto Alonso Gonzalez
On view February 28– April 11, 2019
For many, life along the Rio Grande border is fraught with ubiquitous violence and trauma. Gonzalez’s large-scale, graphic images reflect this aspect of the region in monumental scenes of cartel bloodshed, unrelenting wilderness, femicide, and intimate familial portraits. The artist depicts both perpetrators and victims with a cold clarity and the compassionate sympathy of characters in a Biblical epic. In Gonzalez’ paintings, victims may be innocent martyrs or culpable perpetrators fallen afoul of their cartel masters. He calls on the compositional devices of the European painting canon to present the complexities of this contemporary subject in a manner befitting the tradition of grand scale history painting as well as devotional narrative.
Painted in a Neo-Baroque style, these images are provocative and disturbing. They encourage the viewer to reorient their sense of the cultural center and reimagine implications from the perspective of those living along the US/Mexico border.
Rigoberto Alonso Gonzalez was born in 1973 in Tamaulipas, Mexico. He received his BFA from the University of Texas, Pan American, and his MFA from the New York Academy of Art. His artwork has been exhibited in Sweden, Norway, Mexico and throughout the Southwest United States.
Please note: Images in this exhibition feature depictions of violence, and can be challenging to engage with.
This exhibition was curated by Joseph Bravo. Works for this exhibition have been generously loaned from the Collection of Dr. Esteban Ortega Brown and Matt Gonzalez.
Image: Rigoberto Alonso Gonzalez, Crotalus, oil on linen, 30 x 36, 2017. Courtesy of The Dr. Esteban Ortega Brown Collection.