Date Farmers | Notes on Looking

Sur: Biennial, Dates y Mariposas

With PST’s L.A. Xicano exhibits now open in several different institutions and Latinos taking over Aztlan, it’s actually quite hard to keep up with the amount of shows and events happening en cada esquina by a Latino/a artist.  All I can say about that is Viva la raza! Outpost for Contemporary Art’s Sur: Biennial 2011 opened last week with simultaneous receptions at three different venues, definitely off the beaten art walk track.  Executive Director and curator Ronald Lopez chose to have this biennial in Whittier and Cerritos, as these are predominantly Latino communities on the east side of Los Angeles that traditionally have not seen major art exhibitions.  The Biennial showcases artists inspired by cultures south of the border. The race was on as my goal was to visit all three locations in one evening.  At Cerritos College are the works of Elana Mann, Raul Baltazar, Gustavo Godoy, Karla Diaz, and Jane Castillo. Upon entering the gallery, Gustavo Godoy’s sculpture comes to life as it welcomes guests.  As a child, Gustavo visited many building construction projects with his father, an architect.  This definitely is apparent in his work as the materials used are those found on construction sites, such as wood and metal.  But what may be scraps for some becomes a beautiful, dynamic and organic structure that plays with form and space.  According to Gustavo, this specific piece is quite small compared to his usual installations, in which the viewer can have an experience on a different scale by walking through it.  His interactive pieces invite participation and are therefore shaped by the audience.  Gustavo explained that he...