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Eduardo Carrillo/“The Feminine Sublime”/Ana Serrano
Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, California
Recommendation by Diane Calder

Eduardo Carrillo, "Las Tropicanas," 1972-73, oil on panel, 84 x 132". Courtesy the Crocker Art Museum

Continuing through June 3, 2018

“Testament of the Spirit,” the most extensive of three diverse exhibitions concurrently sharing the galleries, features the dramatic, mystical oil and watercolor paintings of Eduardo Carrillo (1937-1997). The famed but rarely exhibited mural, “Chicano History,“ to which the gifted Carrillo contributed a pre-conquest landscape panel painting, is included. Carrillo’s intimate and brilliant self-portraits, which some viewers have suggested reference the passage of time, reflect his early religious upbringing, love of color and the respect for European art traditions that he honed during his one-year study of painting at Spain’s Prado museum.

In the museum’s South Gallery, “The Feminine Sublime in Painting” features the challenging work of five L.A. painters: Constance Mallinson, Merion Estes, Virginia Katz, Yvette Gellis and Marie Thibeault. This group engages philosopher Immanuel Kant’s archaic assertion that women are incapable of experiencing transcendence, since too much contemplation would destroy their submissive beauty. This timely, powerful exhibition disrupts the controlling male gaze and redirects the eye instead toward the intense harm of climate change denial, as expressed in such works as Estes’ “The Great Defrost.”

“Please Do Not Pick the (paper) Flowers” in Ana Serrano’s “Homegrown” exhibition is a handmade cardboard construction that re-creates the ways in which individuals engage with and alter the city spaces that are part of their daily lives, ironically recalling their roots.

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