Point/Counterpoint. A Reflection of Mexico’s Cultural Transition
Museum of Photographic Arts
On View Through February 11, 2018
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Article by Cathy Breslaw
Point/Counterpoint presents the photographic images of 19 contemporary Mexican photographers at the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego. Underwritten by the Getty Foundation as part of the Pacific Standard Time, exhibitions held across 70 institutions in southern California, it highlights the social, political and economic changes in Mexico. The work covers the years from 2000 to 2015 and was designed by both American and Mexican curators with a diverse range of work including issues of: the border, cultural identity, abstraction, appropriation and the human body.
Artist Patricia Martin’s photographs digitally manipulate wedding portraits to examine the brides’ identity and traditional female roles and Ana Casa Broda’s works chronicle her own journey through motherhood. Teresa Margolles uses the backdrop of abandoned theater marquees to display suicide notes, referencing decaying buildings and infrastructure and Mexico’s struggle with violence and the past. Maya Goded uses photography and video to document the emotional environment of women in vulnerable communities in Ciudad Juarez. Guillermo Arias also documents violence of Mexico’s drug war with a rising death count that effects the border regions. Jose Luis Cuevas’s work informs viewers with a dark photographic essay describing a spiritual world where faith and religion are exchanged for technology.
Frederico Gama documents a year long project with the goal of photographing an event for 12 years, in the 12th month, on the 12th day for 12 hours, focusing his camera on individuals who on that day abandon their everyday life to play the part of a religious pilgrim. Yvonne Venegas’s series focuses on one of the wealthiest regions of Latin America and one that has kept drug violence at bay, revealing moments of authenticity as well as the denial of everyday reality of its citizens. Andres Carretero presents his Redheads Series (2009) of 32 large format images of Mexican redheads challenging expectations about what Mexicans are assumed to look like, either by outsiders or other Mexicans. Dr. Lakra, who is known for embellishing vintage images with tattoo-like designs that are both beautiful and repulsive, blurs the line between traditional and pop culture. Alex Dorfsman explores themes of the Mexican landscape through abstract views of natural and man-made artifacts and are representations of emotional spaces. Alejandra Laviada exhibits an abstract series of images of light, composed through multiple exposures and the images appear to float in space with each layer revealing a unique play with transparency and perspective. These photographers and others included in this exhibition largely reflect the cultural transformations occurring in Mexico and use themes of abstraction, landscape, religion, gender, and pain by providing viewers with a deeper understanding of the challenges of our Mexican neighbors in this global environment.