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CTRL+X: Composed/desCompuestos

Updated: Apr 17, 2023

Works by Gil Rocha and Cande Aguilar

Curated by Maritza Bautista

March 3 - April 29, 2023

Marlene & Spencer Hays Foundation Gallery

Exhibition Statement

CTRL+X is the keyboard shortcut for “cut.” In this exhibit, CTRL+X represents artwork with a “rasquache,” or DIY aesthetic, common in border, Mexican-American or Chicano working-class communities. The artworks are composed of often scavenged materials and concepts taken from cultural representations of ordinary, everyday objects and people.

The artists in this joint exhibition, Gil Rocha and Cande Aguilar, are native to south Texas and have exhibited their artwork widely on the national and international level. Rocha and Aguilar create artworks that give the impression of being improvised, implying an almost-uncomposed (or descompuesto) resolution.

“Both Rocha and Aguilar work in a similar way. They use the information they soak up from living on the border to guide them to create unique, culturally rich assemblages, paintings, sculptures, and media works. They cut directly from their cultural landscapes. They experiment with media and materials to make bold statements. They repurpose and reframe to compose visual works that invite the viewers to open up to unexpected conversations with their use of humor, play on words and color,” said Bautista.

Join the artists for an artist talk at 6 PM during the opening reception to learn more about their creative process and ideas surrounding their practice.

Gil Rocha, Artist

Gil Rocha is a south Texas artist, educator, and curator born and raised in Laredo. He earned a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2006). Rocha’s artwork expands across painting, collage, sculpture, installation, and writing. Most recently his work was featured in two online magazines, PASSAGE Visions (Issue 6) and Maake Magazine (Issue 11); in the collective exhibitions “Soy de Tejas” (San Antonio, 2023), “Son de Allá, Son de Acá” (Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2022); and a joint show curated by Susie Kalil at Kirk Hopper Fine Art Gallery (2022). His artwork was also exhibited in “Icons and Symbols of the Borderlands” (2018), the “Trans-Border Biennial” in El Paso Museum of Art and El Museo de Arte in Ciudad Juarez in Mexico (2018), and the Texas Biennial in Austin (2017). Rocha has curated numerous exhibitions including “The Border is a Weapon” which is scheduled to travel to Syracuse, New York in the fall. This year, Rocha is the Curator for the 2023 Contemporary Art Perennial in San Antonio and will be featured in the second volume of the book “Texas Artists Today.”

Cande Aguilar, Artist

Cande Aguilar is a mid-career contemporary, self-taught visual artist and musician who grew up in Brownsville, Texas. From an early age he learned to play the accordion. The journey and lifestyle as a Conjunto Tejano musician was his doorway into the arts. He is known for his barrioPOP aesthetic, an amalgamation sprung by characters, colors and street phenomena, that allows him to follow a tradition that border people share of making things in a rasquache kind of way. Aguilar has had solo exhibitions at Brownsville Museum of Fine Art (2001-2020), International Museum of Arts & Science (2009), McNay Art Museum (2018), Presa House Gallery (2018), 81 Leonard Gallery (2020), and Grayduck Gallery (2021). His work has been included in group exhibitions at K-Space Contemporary (2019), Wichita Falls Museum of Art (2009), MACLA Museum (2012), Alexandria Museum of Art (2012), Painting Center (2015), 500X Gallery (2017), Boecker Contemporary in Heidelberg, Germany (2017), La Laguna, Tenerife in Spain (2017), and Studio Apothiki, Paphos, Cyprus (2015). Aguilar’s work was included in the 2017 Texas Biennial in Austin. Most Recently, his work was acquired by The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art (2022) and was included in the inaugural exhibition “Cheech Collects” (2022-2023).

Maritza Bautista, Curator

MaritzaBautista is a Tex-Mex/pocha multi-disciplinary artist, educator, and cultural worker from Laredo, Texas. She received a Master of Arts in Art Education from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2009). Her work has been screened at Cinema Verde (2023), Señorita Cinema (2022), iFFY: Independent Film Festival Ypsilanti (2022), MIRAAA Media Fest (2021), San Antonio Film Festival (2019), and Cine Las Americas International Film Festival (2015). Her work has been screened and presented at the NCA 108th Annual Convention: Honoring PLACE: People, Liberation, Advocacy, Community, and Environment (2022), the Creating Justice Symposium (2022) and the Sixth Biennial Inter-American Studies Conference Walls, Bridges, Borders (2021). In 2022 she participated in the collective exhibitions Disparate Inclinations (Laredo), Desde La Frontera (All the way from the border in San Antonio), The Border is a Weapon / La Frontera es un Arma (Pittsburgh, PA), and was featured in the online art magazine PASSAGE Visions (Issue 8). Maritza sustains meaningful, collaborative art practices that explore and create a dialectic milieu inhabited by issues unique to marginalized communities. She uses and experiments with text, video, sound and performance to explore scavenging, movement and transportation as they relate to wealth along and across the U.S./Mexico border. She is interested in the economic disparities that are visible and at times ironic and the survival mechanisms of working class people. Maritza is the Executive Director at Daphne Art Foundation. She is driven by her passion to create space for art so that it becomes accessible and is used as a tool for transformative social justice.

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