Mexico Inside Out: Group Exhibition
From January 6 to February 12, 2011, Open Studio presented Mexico Inside Out, a group exhibition featuring José Chán (Xalapa, Mexico), Alec Dempster (Toronto, ON) and Daniel González (Los Angeles, USA).
This exhibition brought together the work of three established Mexican printmakers who use linoleum and woodblock to explore specific geographical, historical and personal histories and realities relating to Mexico. Each artist consciously draws on the Mexican printmaking tradition, including the work produced by the members of the Taller de Gráfica Popular. The emphasis on the telling and retelling of stories, as well as a connection to Mexican popular culture and myth, is something the works share. Through these prints, viewers discovered distinct and personal visions, not confined to a particular country or place.
An accompanying essay by Toronto-based writer Paul Gallant posits that in Mexico Inside Out, Chán, Dempster and González aren’t necessarily asking what it means to be Mexican—with their different artistic temperaments and life experiences, the three printmakers explode the notion of an idealized Mexico defined by geography or a singular cultural narrative.
Although each of the three artists were educated and live in three different countries—Chán was born in Palenque, Chiapas, and has never traveled outside of Mexico, Demspter was born in Mexico, grew up in Toronto and has split his adult life between Mexico and Canada, and González was born and lives in East Los Angeles, but spends significant amounts of time in Mexico—their work shares formal, conceptual, cultural and historical concerns. Dempster has shown previously in Toronto; this was the first time that Chán and González have exhibited their work in Canada.