Every community takes pride in those young people who have roots in that community, attended school there, and then went on to significant achievements in their professional lives. Their stories serve as inspiration to future generations and serve as a reminder that when we talk in general about all of the talented people in our community, that we are not just speaking in empty clichés. In this spirit, Arts Visalia Visual Art Center is proud to present “FARMAS: New Work by Rogelio Gutierrez,” an exhibition which will be on display at Arts Visalia through the month of November.
Born in San Jose and raised in Farmersville, Gutierrez is one of those individuals to which the preceding statement truly applies. A College of the Sequoias alumnus, he went on to receive a bachelor of fine arts in printmaking from California State University, Long Beach followed by a Master of Fine Arts in Visual Art and Public Life from Indiana University’s Herron School of Art and Design.
Noting that he drew much of the inspiration for this exhibition from his time growing up in the Central Valley, the works in this exhibition are a culmination of images and objects that connect people culturally, despite their physical and political separations. While inspired by the personal experiences of a Mexican-American, the exhibition is equally relatable to both the experiences of many native Mexicans and natives of the United States alike. Through a series of photographic prints and sculptural works representing iconographic symbols from his life, Gutierrez explores the idea that one’s culture is not solely defined by their nationality.
As a printmaker, Gutierrez is well versed in traditional methods of making art, yet he often uses materials and methods of presentation that are not traditionally associated with fine art so that he might engage the public on a broader basis. For example, in 2011 he created a series of images that were displayed on billboards throughout the city of Indianapolis. These billboards were strategically placed in high traffic areas as a temporary public art project that created a dialogue between the Latino population of Indianapolis and the community at large.
Gutierrez now holds the position of assistant professor of printmaking with a focus on Latino arts at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, School of Art at Arizona State University, where he is the current Evelyn Smith Endowed Professor of Art.
His work has been featured in exhibitions at the International Print Center of New York, the 2012 Chicana/o Biennial in San Jose, and the Museum of Mexico City. After its debut at Arts Visalia, this exhibition will travel to Casa Siglo XIX Museo-Sebastian in Chihuahua, Mexico. More information about him and his work can be found at www.rogeliogutierrez.com.
“FARMAS: New Works by Rogelio Gutierrez” will be on display at Arts Visalia through November 28. A public reception will be held on the evening of Friday, November 7 from 6 to 8pm. At 7 pm during the reception, the artist will hold an informal artist talk for those in attendance. Admission to the exhibition and to the reception is free and open to the public. Special thanks to Jack and Charlie’s restaurant for their generous support of this exhibition.
Arts Visalia Visual Art Center is located at 214 E. Oak Ave. in Downtown Visalia, and is open to the public Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 5:30pm. For more information on Arts Visalia’s programs, visit www.artsvisalia.org or call 739-0905.
Kevin Bowman is the director of Arts Visalia and an instructor of art at College of the Sequoias.