This work plays on the subjectivity of the past, which is seen through the lens of those with the power to write it. Who gets to name the constellations? Why do they have names like Cassiopeia, Andromeda, Perseus, etc. when they had been named previously by other cultures? In renaming the constellations, I strip them of their Greek/Western mythos. The high key color or rainbow also brings to mind a variety of meanings—the calm after a storm, a celebration of bounty and variety, and most importantly, a symbol of pride for the LGTB community.
Reclaiming the Constellations
Through my research, I have learned that ancient Mexican codices were drawn and written on animal skins as they did not have access to paper. Inspired by this, I am creating a series of paintings on metallic hides. Painting on the animal skins recalls the act of making the original codices; I use bright metallic gold, silver and bronze skins to represent the natural treasures and artifacts that were stolen from the indigenous people during the Spanish conquest.
Additionally I am making short animations. The goal with the animations is to make the paintings move and to give them a new kind of context, but also to give the work a life outside traditional gallery spaces.
The Axial Precession works are a new series of paintings of round forms, including celestial bodies, cultural and art historical objects and patterns, star charts and astrological maps. There is something reassuring and meditative in these repeated mandala forms. The viewer is simultaneously very small in relation to space and the cosmos and omniscient.
A series of twelve life-sized graphite on paper drawings that represent my idea of a hypothetical army that could come together to solve the world's problems.
Growing up in Texas, being both gay and Mexican-American, I never felt completely represented by any one flag. These works are an attempt to re-imagine and personalize existing flags. I am eager to see the rainbow colored bunting in a public setting such as a used car lot or lining the streets of a downtown neighborhood. A big dream of mine is to see the Gay Mexican Flag surrounding the Washington Monument.
A battle cry is a yell or chant taken up in battle. Their purpose is a combination of arousing aggression and camaraderie on one's own side and causing intimidation on the opposing side.
Another army of complicated men; some heroic, others villainous, all strong-willed, masculine, archetypal and self-assured. The works all bring into focus the disparate ways men from different times and eras posture and present themselves, strong-willed, demanding to not only be taken seriously, but also to assert their strength, accomplishment and intention. The hand painted, meticulous works on Mylar are pristine and graphic and presented as a collective, a first line of defense against an unimaginable and hypothetical foe. These men confront as they posture and assert; their bravura and machismo is ever present.
Antoine-Louis Barye (1796-1875) was the foremost animal sculptor of the 19th century. His figure of a horse (on view at the Walters Art Museum) is in actuality only a few inches tall, a study of musculature and anatomy. By changing the scale of the figure to almost seven feet tall, the horse takes on a different kind of strength and power, one that references the mythological. The cadmium red, almost impasto like surface of the paintings, references the original bronze but also feels like the blood of battle and sacrifice.
The Aztec Calendar is a recurring theme in my work. Every time I paint it I am attempting to get at the power and resonance of the original, a triumph of a lost civilization and a tremendous symbol of Mexican national pride.
This is an ongoing series of work that I began in 2005. At the core of the work are issues of identity, masculinity, sexuality, history and popular culture. The work is hand-painted acrylic on Mylar along with a variety of mixed media, including rhinestones and gold leaf. The work incorporates a variety of wallpaper patterns and is a frenetic burst of visual energy that is at once overwhelming to the viewer but also offering intimate moments to discover.
In the different installation shots, you get a sense of how the project has evolved. The colors are different, subjects change, the themes are in constant transition, but within the grid framework I am free to expand and meander; the work reflects my evolution as an artist.
René Treviño received his BFA in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in 2003 and his MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in 2005. He was included in the 2007 WPA/Corcoran OPTIONS Biennial in Washington DC and was awarded a 2016 Rubys Art Grant, a 2009 Baltimore Creative Fund... more