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Victor Maldonado
Froelick Gallery, Portland Oregon
Recommendation by Richard Speer


Victor Maldonado, ''96 Colors #3,'' 2012, crayon, encaustic on panel, 12 x 12''.

 

Continuing through October 27, 2012

 

Over the last several years, Victor Maldonado has developed a vocabulary of recurring imagery and colors. In his 2010 exhibition, "Less," as well as in the September 2012 group show "COLLIDER" at Portland State University, he made pointed use of a chain-link fence motif, sometimes stenciled directly onto gallery walls, and a particular hue of green — a slightly tamped-down version of kelly green. These functioned as stand-ins for a host of conceptual tropes, many of them related to his Mexican-American heritage and related political issues.  

 

In this current show, "All and Nothing," he brings back the chain link, effectively fencing his show off from the rest of the gallery, and uses black marks and that singular shade of green to cover up photographs from art-history books. This is in keeping with his recent focus on the political and metaphysical implications of negation, a Jerry Seinfeldian intent to “make nothing,” while still making something that can be exhibited in a gallery. A new motif arises in his "Colors" series, fashioned from melted crayons. Rather than employing this staple of childhood mark-making to depict something, Maldonado has effectively neutered his materials; the melting of the medium has become the message. In the tradition of Duchamp, the artist seems to be flipping viewers the bird, but by using a smile-inducing material like Crayons, he makes it hard for us to be anything but charmed.


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