Wednesday, Dec 16, 2015 - 3:49 pm
Exhibition to showcase new works by influential Baja California-based artist, and mentor to generation of Tijuana artists

San Diego, CAThe Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) will present Álavaro Blancarte: Marking the Present at its La Jolla location from January 30, 2016 through April 24, 2016.

Please contact Leah Straub or Patricia B. Dwyer for high-resolution images of artworks, or to schedule interviews with the exhibition’s curator, Education Curator Cris Scorza.

For more than three decades, Álvaro Blancarte has mined the topography of Baja California and defined the region’s artistic landscape with his mark. His work is inspired by the mythologies of the Kumiai culture, the light that shines on the mountains of Tecate, and the idyllic sceneries described in Latin American literature. Blancarte experiments with textures, materials, and colors to depict the splendor of the Baja California desert, using sands and marble powder mixed with acrylic and enamel paints to make a primal mark on the canvas, leaving behind a trace of his presence. In Atavico II [Atavic II] (2014), Blancarte reveals the legacy of the land, making a cartographic incision that exudes a vibrant lapis lazuli, reminiscent of the streams that once traversed the mountains or the deep blue skies of the desert. Blancarte’s legacy as a mentor to generations of Tijuana-based artists has been established through decades of teaching, which the artist considers one of his greatest passions.

This exhibition presents a new body of work alongside four of the artist’s earlier pieces from the Museum’s permanent collection, including Reventando el azul (from the series Barroco Profundo) (2005). For his new series, Blancarte created more than 40 paintings measuring 30 by 30 centimeters (approximately 12 by 12 inches), and ten paintings of a slightly larger scale (approximately 26 by 26 inches). Though he traditionally works on large-scale canvases and murals, these small canvases allowed the artist to intently reinterpret his own history. The series soon expanded and set Blancarte on an iconographic mapping of the present, creating more than 100 works, a selection of which is represented in this exhibition.

About the Artist
Born in 1934 in Culiacan Sinaloa, Mexico, Álvaro Blancarte lives and works in Baja California. He studied visual arts at the Autonomous University of Sinaloa (UAS), where he later served as a teacher and a principal. He is the founder of the School of Arts and Crafts at his alma mater, the House of Culture of Tepepan and the Art Workshop at the Autonomous University of Baja California in Tecate (UABC-Tecate). Since 1964, Blancarte has shown his art in Mexico and internationally in both solo and group exhibitions including Strange New World: Art and Design from Tijuana, 2006, and The Very Large Array: Selections from MCA’s Collection, 2012. Blancarte’s most recent mural, Ancestros/Tipei Ñakor Yaak, 2014, at the Mexican Port of Entry in San Ysidro, Tijuana Mexico, numbers among his many public artworks.

Founded in 1941, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) is the preeminent contemporary visual arts institution in San Diego County. The Museum's collection includes more than 4,700 works of art created since 1950. In addition to presenting exhibitions by international contemporary artists, the Museum serves thousands of children and adults annually at its varied education programs, and offers a rich program of film, performance, and lectures. MCASD is a private, nonprofit organization, with 501c3 tax-exempt status; it is supported by generous contributions and grants from MCASD Members and other individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies. Hugh M. Davies is The David C. Copley Director and CEO at MCASD. Institutional support for MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.