“La Onda” Exhibition Series Features Emerging Artists – KC STUDIO

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Carlos Ortiz-Gallo, “The Dinner Scene” (2020), mixed media (collage, lithography, drawing and watercolor on Rives BFK paper), 35 x 50”
Through collage, mixed media and sculptural objects, I create impression installations of liminal spaces linked to my own migratory journey and socio-economic experience.


Over the past year, an exciting series of exhibitions featuring work by young artists who identify as Latinx have been presented at venues around Kansas City. Titled “La Onda” or The Wave, the exhibits, according to a recent press release, showcase “the rich and varied contributions of Kansas City Latinx artists,” who draw “on a wide variety of experiences to shape the current collective identity.

Led by artists Cesar Lopez and Kiki Serna, the “La Onda” exhibitions bring together the highly diverse practices of a dozen artists to create an autonomous platform for exhibiting, curating and exhibiting.

Over the past year, “La Onda” exhibitions have featured work by members of the group at Curiouser KC (a gallery project located in a shipping container in Strawberry Hill), Beco Gallery, Garcia Squared, Carter Art Center of the Metropolitan Community College, InterUrban ArtHouse and Kiosk Gallery.

While the name “La Onda” originated in Mexico in the 1960s as a multidisciplinary countercultural movement, this group confidently carries the banner of the Latinx generation in the 21st century American Midwest.

According to Lopez, a native of Guatemala, some of the artists were born in the United States, while others are immigrants and children of immigrants. The “La Onda” shows deeply reflect the common challenges of migration and the inextinguishable cultural ties with their vast places of origin, from Texas to South America.

In the following pages, printmaking, sculpture, collage, painting, installation, ceramics, photography and graphic design all serve as powerful narratives of family relationships, place/home, identity and contemporary responses. to otherness.

Kiki Serna, “Si las Flores Pudieran Hablar” (2021), acrylic, graphite, vellum, ink, engrudo, wall piece: 34 x 45”; floor display: 40 x 50 x 22″
My work starts from a very personal and intimate space, where I find myself reflecting on my past and my own Latinx narrative.

Kiki Serna and Carlos Ortiz-Gallo poignantly develop their imagery from family photographs. Serna’s elegiac installations and multimedia designs capture the color of his native Mexico while visually inscribing family histories. Alternatively, Ortiz-Gallo casually injects elements of family trauma alongside texts and images found in pop culture suggesting that fragmented memories of migration are also inevitably painful. Rebeka Pech Moguel’s intimate drawings of dwellings remind us that places persist in our hearts and minds as much if not more than faces.

The photographic works of Silvia Abisaab and Ricardo Rosales speak of divergent Latin experiences. We can’t tell from the odd angle of Rosales’ splashing image whether the female figure is descending or rising, but her head is barely above the water. It’s a time of sinking or swimming familiar to anyone who has plunged into an uncertain future. In Abisaab’s rather formal “car-phone portrait”, her yellow dress appears in a layered architectural space that is partially under construction, still unfinished. We can imagine this as the artist’s job of organizing, combining and constructing a sense of self.

Valentina Trindade Soria, “Estoy en America” ​​(2021), ceramic, glaze, gilding and wire, 10 1/2 x 9 1/4 x 3 1/4″
My artwork is my satirical observation of the photogenic “American dream” marketed to me as an immigrant child, growing up in the United States and Uruguay.

Inspired, she says, by crazy quilts, patterns and fungal growth, and intended to “bring a smile to an audience”, Faviola Calymayor’s sculptural panels are bursting with botanical activity and look good enough to eat. Melissa Guadalupe Wolf’s colorful cast sculptures of cattle-hauling tractor-trailers look like toys but point to darker realities: the human victims of cross-border trafficking. In the work of Valentina Trinidade Soria, a showy Chanel handbag with a barbed-wire handle satirizes the inherent contradictions of the “American dream.”

Cesar Lopez, working in a geometric visual language based on maps, globes and flags, reveals how we form identities around colors associated with ideologies, nation states and sports teams.

Chico Sierra reinvents densely illustrated Mesoamerican iconography to create figures and forces of cosmic dimensions. Christopher Gonzalez gives a futuristic look at his graphic/digital design skills with his robotic character “Boy”.

One can detect in the varied iterations of “La Onda” the consistent power and stamina of the wave. Rising and falling or coming and going, the wave grows stronger as it crosses multinational, multicultural and multidisciplinary territories.

Watch for upcoming “La Onda” exhibits at Curiouser KC (August 2022) and the new Mattie Rhodes Art Center building (September 2022), in conjunction with their Day of the Dead event.

Images courtesy of the artists

Faviola Calymayor, “Somos Flores” (2022), sculpture, pearls, 9 x 5″
I’m inspired by crazy quilts, patterns and fungal growth. My intention is to reflect on the materials I use and make people smile.
Melissa Guadalupe Wolf, “It’s Lonely Out There in Space” (2021), concrete, 3 x 2 x 4″
By forcing soft tones and hard materials to connect with each other, I try to send the message of desired perfection not only in my work but in daily existence.
Rebeka Pech Moguel, “Hogar / Lugar” (2018), watercolor and mixed media, grid dimensions: 34 x 34″
I use different mediums to create a multi-faceted experience that explores themes surrounding cultural history and identity, ritual acts and symbolic patterns.
Ricardo Rosales “aver”, photography, 24 x 36″
Photography allows me to be spontaneous and intuitive with my thoughts and visions and to trust myself when I see something that makes me look twice.
Chico Sierra, “Caoseria” (2021), acrylic on canvas, 5 x 10′
I find inspiration in the vastness of the natural world. . . and within this vastness lie metaphors for tangible topics such as societal repair.
Cesar Lopez, “BBB Portrait” (2021), digital render, 4 x 3″
My work explores the third space by presenting fictional flags and manipulating them into personal interpretations.
Silvia Abisaab, “Yellow Dress” (2020), digital image, 11 x 14″
Documenting space, time and memory has been a thoughtful process to capture what brings loneliness, perspective and meaning.
Christopher Gonzalez (clockwise from top left) “chimp&Z,” dj.wiBoy,” “qua.STAR,” and “furr-meow” from the “roboto” series (2020-ongoing ), vector graphics, variable dimensions
These characters are a starting point in the hope of one day producing hand-painted action figures.
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