William Traver Gallery“Pimp My Glass”
William Traver Gallery (Traver Gallery—Seattle) / 110 Union Street #200 / Seattle, WA 98101
May 7 - 30, 2010
As usual, the sculptures that use bravura glass techniques are the best.
For their second solo show at William Traver in Seattle, the de la Torre brothers, Einar and Jamex, expanded their mixed-media assemblage/installation work into an extraordinarily varied array of objects.
Some resembled shrines while one work, La Reconquista (2010), uses lenticular film print paper to create an illusionistic triptych about the clash between Spaniards, indigenous Mexicans, and popular culture. Former California State University, Long Beach students, the pair toy with art-historical conventions, gleefully dragging them down to the level of elaborate carnival sideshow souvenirs, as in New Jersey Naco (2007), Pilchuck Maiden (2007), and Mitosis (2008). The biggest, Trotsky's Dream (2010), alludes to the exiled Bolshevik's stay in Mexico City where he was assassinated in 1940. Complete with signature spectacles and goatee, de la Torre's revolutionary is swept up in a complex world of ancient Mayan mythology far more terrifying than the Marxism Trotsky espoused.
As usual, however, the sculptures that use bravura glass techniques are the best. Tijuana Frijolera (2009) is a glass bean pot with glass revolvers for handles, a comment on the ubiquitous drug dealers in the border town. El King Pin (2010), also a narco-culture allusion, posits a blue-faced figure drenched in bling atop a jeweled crown. Window of Opportunity (2010) is more abstract and uses the complicated Venetian reticello technique of interwoven colored glass threads. Death of Craft (2010) has to be tongue-in-cheek, so assured and stunning is the craft dimension of the brothers' art. If craft is dead, the brothers have performed a miracle, calling it back from the dead with ravishing glassblowing skills at the service of Mexican history and the violence and humor of popular culture today.