A Many-Splendored Self-Portrait of the Artist

A Many-Splendored Self-Portrait of the Artist

For “Stab of Guilt,” the primary, sprawling survey present of René Treviño’s 24-year follow on the Wellin Museum of Art in Clinton, N.Y., amongst his different work, the artist has put in 119 work, every 18 inches by 18 inches. These are disparate photos, some historic, some up to date, all variations on the circle: heraldry, Aztec symbols, foreign money, photos of the solar and of star patterns, a manhole cowl, a disco ball.

This assortment hints at how fluidly this Dallas-born, Baltimore-based, Mexican queer artist regards the aesthetic world: He isn’t involved with inflexible hierarchies of being. What he’s involved about is connecting the disparate and layered elements of himself that exist past fthe conventional markers of identification.

Treviño — who has been exhibited on the Arlington Arts Center in Virginia, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Wadsworth Atheneum in Connecticut and White Box in New York City — is exclusive in that he doesn’t deal with identification as a sequence of containers to verify, or a set of ramparts to protect, however as a substitute, as a spread of paths to discover.

Another group of work, the “Celestial Body-ody-ody” sequence (2020-23) — named after a music by the favored hip-hop musician Megan Thee Stallion — comprises photos of coral organized like mind matter adjoining to photographs of the Earth seen from area. These works, which measure 36 by 36 inches, are a motley mixture of the artwork historic, Mexican cultural historical past and the on a regular basis curiosities of pedestrian American tradition.

In a dialog with the artist, he defined, “My artwork actually is an try and form of squish all of these issues collectively.”

I mistook these work for prints at first however came upon they’re painstakingly hand-painted acrylic on semi-opaque DuraLar archival movie. Another theme of the present emerges right here: Treviño needs his labor to be acknowledged as undergirding the artwork, and he needs its intricacy and splendor to captivate the viewer. Yet the underlying labor required to make the work could be obscured by its grandeur.

At the doorway of the exhibition there’s a trio of clothes ensemble items the artist has titled “Regalia, Intuition,” 2023; “Regalia, Foresight,” 2023; and “Regalia, Premonition,” 2023. Three mannequins bear robes resembling European coronation capes which might be embellished with fake jaguar fur and magpie bits of sequined appliqué, and the robes are topped with spangled masks adorned with wildly patterned headdresses of actual pheasant feathers. The trio is introduced on a gleaming stage backstopped by a curtain of shimmering gold lamé, blurring the excellence between artwork, style, and theater. This pageantry is so luxurious and the presentation so seamless it feels that these variations amongst genres of artmaking are arbitrary reasonably than needed. The artist, who used to work in theater, has discovered the perfect elements of himself inside their exuberant collaboration.

Still, I can think about a viewer being confused by different work within the present, for instance the leather-based items that embrace “Tree of Life Rainbow” (2017), which reveals a rainbow rising from a Mixtec image from the Codex Selden. It isn’t clear whether or not these are supposed to be representations of historic paperwork or revisionist histories — an try and queer the canon, that’s, to create space inside it for hybrid, hyphenate individuals like Treviño. But for the artist, the variations between the varieties of work aren’t essential to constituting identification; they’re a part of being a human within the up to date world.

Treviño’s survey contains different our bodies of labor, such because the “Sunspots by Day, Asteroids by Night,” a sequence of digital prints and combined media on bamboo paper, which I discovered much less compelling, and an exquisitely pretty giant “Self Portrait” of a rooster with a languorously lengthy black feathered tail trying to climb onto a yellow solar. The most compelling side of “Stab of Guilt” is Treviño’s demonstration that identification is a many-splendored factor and that severe, attentive care to exploring it may possibly look so much like a party.

René Treviño: Stab of Guilt

Through June 9, the Wellin Museum of Art, on the campus of Hamilton College, 198 College Hill Road, Clinton, N.Y., (315) 859-4396;


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