EVERETT — The work of eight Mexican/Chicano artists are featured in two exhibits at the Schack Art Center from April 27 through June 3.
The art showcases a rich history that exists as a result of Mexican migration to the Northwest.
Convergence: Contemporary Mex-Xicano Art in the Pacific Northwest — in the main gallery — is curated by Lauro H. Flores, a University of Washington professor of Chicano and Latin American literature and cultures.
Mex-Xicano is a name Flores uses to describe people who identify as Mexican immigrants or who are Mexican-Americans/Chicano, the later having ties to the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
Convergence features diverse artist perspectives in a wide array of mediums, including prints, paintings, photographs and ceramics.
Flores says there exists a limited perception of Mexican and Chicano art in our region.
“I have put together this show in numerous contexts since 1984 to expose the art and to educate the public that Mexicans and Chicanos are part of the fabric of our culture, not incidental,” Flores said.
As an aside, most people don’t know that the first Mexican artist to paint the Northwest landscape was a man aboard an exploration ship in the late 1790s, Flores said. Now, in the age of talk about building a border wall, Flores feels “reinvigorated about the purpose of the exhibit.”
The artists in the Convergence exhibit and their work “epitomize the diversity of our community and the range of interests and activities that have defined and continue to define the evolution of a Chicano/Mexican aesthetic during the past 60 years in the Pacific Northwest,” Flores said. “Many people think of our community as being mostly farm workers, and that’s fine. We also are a community of artists and intellectuals.”
Participating artists Arturo Artorez, Fulgencio Lazo, Jesús Mena Amaya and José Luis Rodríguez Guerra were born in Mexico and moved to the Puget Sound area at different points in their lives. Artists Cecilia C. Alvarez and George Rodriguez moved here from other parts of the United States, and photographer Paul Berger, whose mother is of Mexican descent, is a Pacific Northwest native.
Many of the artists’ work have been shown at Seattle Art Museum as well as in numerous galleries here and across the country.
People who view the exhibition “will quickly recognize how most artists — each in her or his own way — pay homage to their cultural heritage through the use of certain themes, icons and motifs,” Flores said. “Nevertheless — despite their common legacy — the individual experiences, sensibilities and identities vary enormously — as do the individual expression.”
Accompanying the Convergence show, the mezzanine gallery will feature Over the Rainbow, a solo exhibit of paintings by well-known Seattle artist Alfredo Arreguín, about whom Flores has written.
The Mexican-born painter has specialized in creating canvases exploding with ornate patterns, intricate brushwork and bright colors. His paintings often include imagery of pre-Columbian cultures, the landscapes of Mexico and portraits of iconic cultural figures, such as the painter Frida Kahlo.
Over the Rainbow is a small retrospective covering many periods of his work, since arriving in the Pacific Northwest more than 60 years ago.
Arreguín came to Seattle in the 1950s and earned a master’s degree in fine arts in the late 1960s at the University of Washington. He is the winner of fellowships, awards and public commissions, is included in the permanent collections at the National Museum of American Art and the National Portrait Gallery, and has had three solo exhibitions in Spain.
If you go
The Schack exhibits Convergence and Over the Rainbow open with a meet-the-artists reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 27, at the Schack Art Center, 2921 Hoyt Ave., Everett.
During the reception, at about 6 p.m., the dance group Baile Folklore Colibri will be performing traditional and modern dances.
A free exhibit lecture with artist Arreguín and curator Flores is scheduled for 1 p.m. May 13 at the Schack.