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Classical Techniques Mix with Contemporary Ideals

By: Adam Zhang

RoFa Projects is an art gallery that supports social and cultural awareness by using emphasis on Latin America in their art. Their exhibitions often display art that are prone to arouse controversy, which includes Latin American political and feminist pieces. RoFa’s new gallery has “In the Heart of the Beholder” as its first show, which depicts strange geometric lines that speak for themselves. However, looking deeper, the images contain elements of classical, Renaissance techniques.

Salustiano is an artist in the exhibition who uses classic techniques. His paintings show realistic, soft drawings of heads and shoulders. Interestingly, the reds used in the art are made from crushed cochineal beetles, a technique used in the Renaissance. Bugs were brought to Spain from conquered territories in Central America, tying his works with colonialism.

Walterio Iraheta, another artist, adds McDonald’s Happy Meal figurines to paintings such as Rembrandt’s “The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp”. These toys, some of which are photographed and others painted, are available in stores in El Salvador which are sold to the U.S. It shows El Salvador’s influence on the U.S.

Another artist, Fabian Ugalde, gives famous, traditional paintings a modern twist. He digitally tweaks works such as “Girl With a Pearl Earring” by Vermeer, so that they look normal from far away, but if you go up close, the image is cut up, like a glitch. The girl, who looks just blurry from far away, turns out to be identical images grouped together.

Cecilia Paredes’s self-portraits are more personal. She comes from Philadelphia, but she also spends time in Peru, her native country. She covers her body in the portraits with patterns, some of which are flowers, butterflies, and sea animals. At heart, her art tells everyone that she is in love with nature in some way.

There are other notable artists, one of which is Colombian street artist Erre, who gets her theme from punk rock, protests, and skateboarding. Her depictions of defiant women embrace mottos like “Vivas Libres”, meaning “live free”, and “Sin Miedo”, meaning “fearless”. The variety is seemingly endless.

Many of the artists incorporate their own love in their art. The different styles mix together as one, creating a clash between old and new.

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