L Street Gallery

Raul Guerrero: Past & Present

SanDiegoArtist.com: Online Retrospective: July 15 – September 30, 2006 L Street Gallery: Exhibit: Southern California, Recent Works by Raul Guerrero: August 26 – November 31, 2006 Opening reception for the artist: Saturday, August 26, 2006


San Diego, CA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 07/26/2006 --L Street Gallery, in conjunction with SanDiegoArtist.com, is pleased to announce: Raul Guerrero: Past & Present: a comprehensive survey of Guerrero’s work since 1974. The online retrospective will be available for viewing from July 15 – September 30, 2006 at http://sandiegoartist.com and will highlight 30 years of work by Raul Guerrero. This survey includes over 50 works -- ranging from his well-known Tijuana Nightlife paintings to earlier sculptures, installations and kinetic works -- from each phase of the artist's career.

The exhibition, Southern California: Recent Works by Raul Guerrero, will open on August 26 with an opening reception from 6pm – 9pm at the L Street Gallery and will be on view through November 31, 2006. Both the online and gallery exhibit have been organized by Ann Berchtold, curator of SanDiegoArtist.com and newly appointed gallery director for the L Street Gallery at the Omni Hotel in Downtown San Diego.

”Raul Guerrero has been an important presence on the Southern California art scene-particularly in the San Diego/Tijuana region-- for more than thirty years. Making paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, and videotapes, he has forged an expansive, ever-evolving vision-one that combines technical innovation with symbolic power. Although his style ranges from early conceptually based abstraction to recent narrative realism, Guerrero’s self-described “search for the poetry of life” is a constant in all of this work. Traveling and reading voraciously, Guerrero continually engages the histories of culture in the United States, Latin America, and Europe, culling images and ideas for his art.” Written by Toby Kamps, 1998, Assistant Curator Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.

Guerrero spent four years (1966 – 1970) at the Chouinard Art Institute studying with professors like Emerson Woelffer, Mike Kanemitsu, Don Graham, Ed Reep and Stephen Van Heune. At that time Chouinard students were witnessing the emergence of cutting edge artists such as Richard Serra, Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Edward Ruscha, Edward Kienholz, Bruce Nauman and the Los Angeles art scene. Says Guerrero of that period, “In LA, I was embedded in an art culture that made a big difference in my life. Up to that time I felt alienated for some reason or another – and that scene was like finding my tribe.” Guerrero had his first celebrated solo exhibit at the Cirrus Gallery, LA in 1974 and followed with four more successful LA based exhibits. Guerrero left LA in January of 1980 and moved back to San Diego. Guerrero has since gradually and steadily assumed the characteristics of a successful career and has become one of our most outstanding artists. After countless solo and joint exhibits his first major retrospective was presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego in 1998.

His latest body of work, Problems and Marvelous Secrets of the Indies, which has been fifteen years in the making, is a history of the American continent presented in three parts: Black Hills of Dakota, Latin America and Southern California. In describing the series, Guerrero imagines two travelers chronicling their respective journeys as they move through time and geography within the continent. “The first traveler is coming from the Eastern seaboard and traveling west, encountering defining moments in the evolving history of the United States, eventually arriving in Southern California. The second traveler leaves Peru, treks thru South America, Central America, Mexico, eventually arriving in Southern California”. Structuring research for the series in this manner allowed the artist to create a non-linear visual and poetic map of the territory, expressed in a variety of mediums, including painting, drawing, mosaic work, artist books, photography and bronze sculpture.

Guerrero continues: "Eventually the two travelers converge in Southern California, becoming witnesses of the hybrid culture from which they sprang, an infrastructure made up of Anglo-American, Indigenous and Latino influences. As one, they experience the strange surreal cultural phenomena that is Southern California with its "dive bars," take-out food culture, its highly industrialized consumer society and of course Hollywood, the ultimate surreal dream machine”.

In a painting titled, The Lovers; a French fry is seen lying on a beach towel, while an elongated splash of ketchup hovers over seductively. The "lovers" are surrounded by a sandy beach and blue sky, and represent Southern California's most perfect and sought after couple. The composition, The Lovers, was inspired by Man Ray's classic surrealistic painting, A l’heure de l’observatoire—Les Amoureux; (Observatory Time--The Lovers).

Raul Guerrero’s style and approach to art has been described in many ways, poetically by Michael McManus for ART WEEK in 1988. He states, “Guerrero is a dance photographer, an elitist, late of the school of Paris and a disciple of the dadaist Many Ray; he's political, a Chicano activist excavating the Olmec roots of his consciousness; he's the Prince of Oaxaca, a peripheral figure in the L.A. pop scene; he's a conceptual artist, a California surrealist; protégé of Emerson Woelffer; he's an oil painter in the Academy San Carlos tradition, devoted to the memory of Dr. Atl and Diego Rivera; he's an ironist, a constructivist, a Jungian, a comedian.”

2006 kicked off a series of joint exhibits for Raul Guerrero beginning in April with a show at the Billy Shire Fine Arts Gallery in Culver City: Problemas y Secretos Maravillosos de Las Indies/Problems and Marvelous Secrets of the Indies, which ran from April 15 - May 20, 2006. Guerrero is currently part of the Strange New World: Art and Design From Tijuana, which is running concurrently at both MCASD Downtown and MCASD La Jolla. His work will be featured at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, as part of the exhibition: Chicano Visions: American Painters on the Verge running from July 22 - October 22, which includes works of some of the country’s best Chicano and Chicana artists. Works by Guerrero are also currently being featured in Ravenna Italy at the Galleria Ninapi.

For more information email: ann@sandiegoartist.com
Raul Guerrero’s website: http://raulguerrero.com
SanDiegoArtist.com Retrospective: (preview view) http://sandiegoartist.com