Review: Al Sur de la Frontera 

***1/2
click to enlarge Paco Racru, "Mujer Luna," from Al Sur de la Frontera at Athenaeum ArtSpace
  • Paco Racru, "Mujer Luna," from Al Sur de la Frontera at Athenaeum ArtSpace

Sponsored by the newly-created Nopal Cultural Center, the broadly-based Al Sur de la Frontera (South of the Border) showcases the work of contemporary Latino American artists, with a particular focus on pieces depicting contemporary Mexican life.

The show's stated goal is to show work that Latinos can relate to, and to make non-Latinos more aware of the existence of said art. Indy-based photographers and artists - both Latino and non-Latino - are included, as well as artists based abroad.

I enjoyed seeing Indy-based Elizabeth Guipe Hall's encaustic collage work, based on photos taken of the Zapotec peoples in Southern Mexico - alongside the paintings of the Jalisco, Mexico-based Paco Racru, whose figurative paintings of young women, especially "Mujer Luna," whetted my taste for more.

The photography on display, such as Maria Moreno's "Jugando Al Immigrante: La Bestia" - a series of unflinching black and white photos of Latin American immigrants - doesn't quite jive with painted work, but that may be in part because the Athenaeum ArtSpace is a challenging place to show art - and, by extension, to draw out coherent similarities and differences as a curator.

Or maybe the theme is a bit too broad: Can you imagine a show called North of the Border that wouldn't be impossible to curate? Nevertheless the Nopal Cultural Center's goal is a worthy one - to advocate for and show work by Latin American artists in the Indianapolis community - and this show's definitely worth a look.

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Dan Grossman

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