Chloe Luisa Piñero, “Constellation”, oil, acrylic, watercolor, spray paint, chalk pastel, graphite, found objects and hot glue on canvas. 36″ x 48″ PHOTO: COURTESY OF CAMBRIDGE ART ASSOCIATION
“Vernacular Glamour”, screened at Kathryn Schultz Gallery of the Cambridge Art Association through February 19, features a cross section of Latinx artists exploring camp, high fashion, popular culture, and queer experiences. Curated by Juan Omar Rodriguez, the exhibition explores what is undervalued by the supposed taste makers and where economic, racial, sexual and gender lines are considered in these evaluations.
The exhibition features works by Juan Arango Palacios, Maria Yolanda Liebana, Perla Mabel, Chloe Luisa Piñero, Ginger Q, Rixy, Moises Salazar and Jhona Xaviera.
Moises Salazar’s work is bold, colorful and textured. The artist uses clay, papier-mâché, glitter crochet, faux fur and flowers to create soft and welcoming visual spaces. These spaces represent the kind of warmth and comfort that Salazar lacks in the United States as a queer, non-binary, and first-generation Mexican American artist.
“My art is a vehicle to celebrate the majesty of cultural heritage in contrast to the challenges of living safely in the United States as a member of immigrant and queer communities,” Salazar says in an artist statement. “Thinking about the lack of space and agency they have, I present my pieces in environments where they can thrive and be safe.”
While Salazar creates her own safe artistic spaces, Chloe Luisa Piñero uses her process of collage and multimedia assemblage to examine her own identity, particularly in the context of sexuality, social class and cultural ‘norms’. Piñero’s pieces mix materials like dollar store trinkets and crushed beauty products with advertisements and slices of graphic sexual imagery.
These juxtapositions examine how women, people of color, and those from specific socioeconomic categories are portrayed in media and cultural spheres, versus how individuals connect to their own identities. Seeing these images, art lovers are forced to assess the value judgments they themselves assign to each element of Piñero’s composition, and where these perceived values come from.
“Vernacular Glamour” is part of CAA’s Platform Curatorial Opportunity series, an annual exhibition opportunity for emerging or established curators to explore a new concept at Kathryn Schultz Gallery with financial and institutional support from CAA. Rodriguez has previously worked on exhibitions with Boston CyberArts, the Boston LGBTQIA+ Artist Alliance, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts.
Accessible in person and online, “Vernacular Glamour” offers a visual and intellectual feast examining the societal limits placed on queer and Latinx communities, and how artists forge their own kind of American dream.