Alida Cervantesâ€™ paintings reimagine the perceived boundaries upon which social, economic, and political conditions remain contingent. Raised in the border city of Tijuana, Mexico, the artistâ€™s home environment instilled from an early age a sense of Mexicoâ€™s hierarchical binaries of race, class and culture. Cervantesâ€™ vivid historical paintings mask a reality in which social and political disparities play out on two levels, both within the intimate social structures of the artistâ€™s home life and in the actuality of the political border that constitutes an impenetrable threshold for many Mexican citizens. The city of Tijuana provides the springboard into a painterly investigation of the actions, relationships and perceptions of Mexicoâ€™s cross-cultural and multi-ethnic society.
Alida Cervantes El Pretendiente
Oil on wood panel
152.4 x 213.4 cm
In her series of paintings inspired by Mexicoâ€™s casta paintings of the seventeenth and eighteenth century, Cervantesâ€™ imagines the Spanish colonial caste system in Mexico with its strict racial taxonomies and hierarchies. Her engagement with this distinct racial make-up invites the viewer to re-imagine colonial experience by emphasising the deliberate erasure of black bodies from history. Spainâ€™s conquest and subsequent colonisation of Mexico is animated by an overt vulgarity (Matadora, 2011), while other paintings skew representations to complicate classical and abstract formations. The unfolding narrative of domination, subjugation, and submission between individuals plays out through a range of figurative scenarios tainted by sex and violence. Scenes of male castration and bloody revenge that typify the artistâ€™s tongue-in-cheek approach to painting (Horizonte En Calma, 2011) reveal the politics of Mexicoâ€™s increasingly hybridised identities.
Alida Cervantes Matadora
Oil on wood panel
152.4 x 213.4 cm
Cervantesâ€™ work explores the intricacy and intimacy of power using painterly devises to create works of semi-narrative that address age-old dynamics of dominance and submission, an uncomfortable yet inescapable part of human nature. Thus, Cervantesâ€™ paintings adopt a strongly Mexican cultural discourse, as they are implicated within wider narratives of colonial and post-colonial representation. Images of secrecy and intrigue, transgression and subversion, as they exist in the artistâ€™s imagination become sites for the enactment of momentary impulses and sexualised desires. The collision of Catholic, indigenous, and African religious aspects is apparent through expressions of sin, guilt and sacrifice, as they might have been performed in some fantastical place. Cervantes paintings playfully attempt to re-root individuals in an alternative reality, fragmentary characters are imbued with meaningful agency as they revolt against a grand narrative.
Born in 1972, San Diego, CA
Lives and works in Tijuana, Mexico
2014 GRANT- 2014-2015 Alice C. Cole Fellowship
2013 Historia de una relacion amorosa, Marcuse Gallery UCSD, La Jolla, Ca.
2011 Los MĂˇs BĂˇrbaros, Steve Turner Contemporary, Los Angeles
2007 About Me, Athenaeum, La Jolla Ca
2014 Occupy Thirdspace, Space for Art, San Diego, Ca.
2013 SUR Biennial, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, Ca.
The Very Large Array, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Ca.
Incomplete Survey, Space for Art, San Diego, Ca.
2012 YOU: Investigating Identity, Oceanside Museum of Art, San Diego, Ca
2011 Obra negra, El Cubo, Tijuana, Mexico
Vantage Point: Visual Dialogues, Oceanside Museum of Art, San Diego, Ca
2010 Chewbacca to Zapata: Revisiting the Myth of the Mexican Revolution, Morono
Kiang Gallery, Los Angeles
Salon Summer Series, San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego
2009 Homing In, Mark Quint Gallery, San Diego, CA
2008 Who Do You Love? L Street Gallery, Dan Diego, CA
2007 Viva Mexico, Zacheta National Gallery, Warsaw, Poland
People, Bobbie Greenfield Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
New Contemporaries, Simay Space, San Diego, CA
Bineal Of Baja California, Mexicali, Mexico
2006 Strange New World: Art and Design from Tijuana at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
The Cultural Institute Of Mexico, Washington DC, The Santa Monica Museum Of Art
2005 Bineal of Baja California, Mexicali, Mexico
Tijuna en Terciopelo, Instituto Cultural de Baja California, Tijuana, Mexico
las Muertas de Juarez, Instituto Cultural de Baja California, Tijuana, Mexico