A celebration of these exceptional and diverse characters is the focus of “Unmasked,” a just-opened exhibit at MACLA (Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana) in downtown San Jose. The arts space promotes Chicano/Latino works and is kicking off its 25th season with “Unmasked,” which showcases “real and re-imagined superheroes.”
Joey Reyes, curatorial coordinator at MACLA, assembled the show, which features about two dozen works by artists Carlos Donjuan, Hector Hernandez, Dulce Pinzón and Rio Yañez. Their paintings and photographs will be on view through Nov. 15 at MACLA, 510 S. First St., San Jose.
Reyes began “Unmasked” with the works of Pinzón after he saw her latest project, “The Real Story of the Superheroes.” Her photographs depict ordinary Mexican immigrants in New York doing ordinary things while dressed in the costumes of American and Mexican superheroes.
“She is the precedent for this show,” according to Reyes, who adds that the young immigrants known as “DREAMers” are life’s true superheroes, a theme found in the paintings of Donjuan.
“That’s my thing and the core of Carlos’ work,” Reyes says, “because he creates figures who are often concealed but are socially and politically active.”
This is the second MACLA show for Yañez, a photographer and graphic artist. “His work is really tongue in cheek,” says Reyes of the artist’s penchant for combining icons and mythology in pop culture staples as random as Godzilla movies and pro wrestling.
Hector Hernandez, the fourth featured artist in “Unmasked,” is a native Texan who blends mixed media with photography and comes up with surreal characters and creatures. “Superhero” may not come immediately to mind in seeing his images, but somehow they work brilliantly in this context.
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