Anna Ortiz: Al Pie de los Magueyales
The Adelphi University Exhibitions Program is pleased to present Al Pie de los Magueyales, a solo exhibition featuring the work of New York painter, Anna Ortiz.
This exhibition is presented in conjunction with National Hispanic Heritage Month and features new paintings from Ortiz’s recent “Dioses de los Pochos” series.
About the Artist
Anna Ortiz, born and raised in Massachusetts, is a first generation Mexican American artist currently living and working in New York City. She received influential painting instruction as a child from her grandfather, Alfonso Ortiz Toscano, who was a professional portrait painter in Guadalajara. For many years, Anna Ortiz has been known for painting landscapes in bold colors often including ambiguous structures creating subtly surreal scenes reflecting the human interaction with the environment. Recent xenophobic political rhetoric and action in the United States has pushed Ortiz towards a renewed appreciation for her heritage and a drive to conceptualize and defend the experience of Mexican immigrant culture.
The works included in this show are part of a larger series of works titled “Dioses de los Pochos”. In this series Ortiz has created imagined idols to gods of the Pochos. Pochos is a term describing Mexican-Americans who are neither entirely Mexican or American. With this series, Ortiz has created inhabitants for her surreal landscapes inspired by Mesoamerican archeology, including Mayan and Aztec artifacts. Ortiz see’s these idols existing in both the real and imagined realms. Their identity is defined by duality and ambiguity resembling the Pocho dilemma of feeling disconnected from Mexico and not fully welcome in the USA.
The works in this show build upon the topics of the rest of the series by being specifically influenced by the current COVID-19 pandemic. “Al Pie de los Magueyales” is a quote from the song “Mexico Lindo y Querido”, which is one of the most popular songs in Mexico. In the song there is a plea to have one’s body returned to Mexico for burial if they die away from their homeland. The current pandemic has disproportionately affected the Lantinx community in the USA, and most individuals have not had the opportunity to have this final wish for return fulfilled. The works in this exhibition serve to highlight the issues we face and provide an imagined source of hope and comradery. In the artists’ own words, “The work is in part an effort to bring awareness of these cultural differences, and also a continuation of my personal swansong to Mexico; a country and a culture I have only ever had limited access to even as a dual citizen.”
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