Join us for a conversation with artists Hector Dionicio Mendoza, Amalia Mesa Bains, Viviana Paredes, and Pilar Agüero-Esparza as they discuss their shared interest in ritual, memory and tradition. We’ll consider the Mexican tradition of Día de los Muertos in the time of Coronavirus, examine the importance of ritual during moments of uncertainty, and explore new models for remembrance and connection.
Hosted by: Donna Conwell, Curator, Lucas Artists Residency Program and Kelly Sicat, Director, Lucas Artists Residency Program.
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HECTOR DIONICIO MENDOZA
Hector Dionicio Mendoza, was born in Uruapan, Michoacan, México, and immigrated with his family at 12 years old to King City, California. He received a BFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California, where he was awarded the Presidents fellowship which constitutes a full tuition scholarship. After he completed his Bachelor’s degree, Mendoza was invited to several artist-in-residence programs and exhibitions in Europe, including Kust Futur in Switzerland 2000, The Bossard Project in Berlin 2001, Casa Santos in Barcelona 2002, and The Putney Arts Center in London 2003. Mendoza’s awards include the Eureka Fellowship 2004 in California, Kunst Now 2005 in Berlin, and Eco-Conciente 2007 in Mexico City. In 2009, he received his master’s degree in fine art from Yale University. Mendoza currently lives in Monterey, California where he is an Associate Professor in the Visual and Public Art Department at California State University, Monterey Bay. Mendoza teaches studio courses in sculpture, painting, and screen printing. Mendoza’s work explores a wide range of themes, including the relationship between history, race and nature. Mendoza was a Lucas Artists Fellow at Montalvo Arts Center in 2015.
Amalia Mesa-Bains is an artist and cultural critic who has worked to define Chicano and Latino art in the United States and in Latin America. Mesa-Bains is best known for her large-scale installations and interpretations of traditional Chicano altars and ofrendas. Her work explores Mexican American women’s spiritual practices, and addresses colonial and imperial histories and the recovery of cultural memory, and the roles they play in identity formation. She also uses aesthetic strategies as ways to express experiences historically associated with Mexican American women and as sites for Chicana feminist reclamation. Mesa-Bains was born in Santa Clara, California, holds a BA in painting from San Jose State university, an MA in interdisciplinary education from San Francisco State university and a PH. D in clinical psychology from the Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. Mesa-Bains was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1992.
Viviana Paredes is a pioneering glass artist who brings her perspective as a Latina woman to her work to explore the cultural meaning of spirituality and nature. Based in San Francisco, Paredes has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2021 Fleishhacker Foundation – Eureka Fellowship; a 2017 San Francisco Arts Commission – Individual Art Grant; as well as artist residencies at the de Young Museum and Recology. She has exhibited her work internationally in Lille, France; and Mexico City, Tijuana, Guadalajara, and Morelia in Mexico; as well as nationally in Washington D.C; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and San Francisco, California. Paredes’ contemporary sculptures created from glass, bronze and other sources are brought to life with an infusion of organic materials. She creates elegant vessels that use the transparency of glass to highlight what is concealed within the object. Paredes’ installations of light and shadow give a sense of illumination, transparency and revelation as they reflect healing, forgiveness and self-acceptance, and explore the sacred space of ancestral memory, culture, and linguistic history.
Originally from Boyle Heights in East Los Angeles, Pilar Agüero-Esparza was exposed to the potential and richness of materials and the love of the hand-made while working in her parents' shoe shop. She received a BA in Art from the University of California Santa Cruz, and MFA from San Jose State University. Agüero-Esparza is an artist, arts educator, and arts administrator living and working in the Bay Area who has exhibited her work in numerous institutions including the San Jose Museum of Art, Triton Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, The Santa Cruz Museum, MACLA, Palo Alto Arts Center, Galeria de la Raza, and the De Young Museum. In 2017, her work was featured in the exhibition The U.S.-Mexico Border: Place, Imagination, and Possibility at the Craft Contemporary Museum, Los Angeles as part of the Getty Foundation Southern California initiative Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, an ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art. In 2019, the exhibition traveled to Lille, France as part of the Eldorado Lille3000 arts festival. Sponsored by festival organizers, Agüero-Esparza traveled to France and worked with community members teaching huarache-making workshops at the Maison Folie Wazemmes.