As part of our 40th Anniversary celebration, the Taller Boricua presents the second in our series of multiple, solo exhibitions by artists who share facets of our mission: art and aesthetics, community, art activism as well as music and performance.
Las Hermanas Iglesias (Janelle and Lisa Iglesias) create multimedia and multidisciplinary works that address their shared autobiographical experiences. For “Everybody Likes to Dance,” Las Hermanas create an audio-visual installation involving custom-made disco balls that reference imagery of their Dominican and Norwegian cultures and spin over an interactive dance floor diagram. The step-by-step instructions encourage viewers to listen to the music while trying to trace and learn the dance movements. For these original tracks, Las Hermanas approached six international musicians to each create “mash-ups” of a Dominican Merengue and a Norwegian Pols: Chris Gooris, Christopher “Ryan” Spence, Colin Bragg, Mark Vicente and Guilt and Johannes Brechter with mastering by Gregory Adkins. To complement these mash-ups, Las Hermanas developed a unique choreography, inviting the viewer to experience a fusion of the two traditional, yet diverse, dances and cultures.
“Ahora / Now: Stop III, El Barrio, New York” is the third incarnation of Migdalia Luz Barens-Vera’s multimedia three-channel video, sound, art object installation and public intervention. This site-specific performance takes place through the lens of a video camera and is executed, recorded and edited by the artist. The piece is an evolving allegory of a woman who, both literally and figuratively, takes the walls of her “home” – the symbolic transporter, collector and guardian of memories – with her as she relocates. Poignantly moving her Plexiglas “house” through the streets, she gathers newfound belongings, reconfiguring and recreating it as she goes along. In “Ahora / Now,” diverse worlds are fused together and familiar spatiotemporal realities are shifted, negating the concepts of “local” and “global” and creating a hybrid sense of identity and place. In this instance, her final stop is the Taller Boricua in El Barrio where her collected objects will be exhibited along with the first two chapters of “Ahora / Now: Stop I, Puerto Rico” and “Stop II, Cuenca.”
Traci Molloy’s exhibition “Missed / Dismissed” uses text, photography, painting, and digital imaging to examine loss in relation to adolescent violence, with an emphasis on youth who have murdered their peers. The paradox between the public’s desire for sensational stories involving brutality and death and the private emotions that come as a result of grief and bereavement play a pivotal role in her work. While the media often overlooks the victim’s lives and experiences, instead focusing on the scandalous aspect of the crime, her ongoing series “Kids that Kill Kids” explores the psychological, social and political portraiture of the individuals involved. In her prints from the “White Dandelions” series, she manifests the ramifications of death and the absence of loved ones. For Molloy, it is the universal feeling of loss—of identity, life, and innocence—that ties the work together.
In the exhibition “Naturaleza Muerta / Still Life,” Jorge Rojas incorporates abstract, wax sculptures along with video, sound and light to examine the themes of artistic process, the creation of art, and the foundations of aesthetics. Collectively, Rojas’ work addresses the classical relationship of the beautiful and the sublime to contemporary notions of technology, nature, isolation and transcendence. For this exhibition, his process emphasizes the inherent metaphors within beeswax that in itself is a living force of nature in constant flux. Born of pain and pleasure, it has the power to separate and unite as well as obscure and clarify. Combined with prefabricated metals and sounds, Rojas’ sculptures navigate the ever-present dichotomies in life such as the ephemeral and the concrete, permanence and impermanence and creation and annihilation.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS: Las Hermanas Iglesias are Lisa and Janelle Iglesias, a collaborative team of sisters who were born and raised in Queens, New York. As second-generation Norwegian-Dominicans, their work often comments on bridging disparate materials and practices. Lisa Iglesias received her MFA from the University of Florida and Janelle received her Master’s from Virginia Commonwealth University. Las Hermanas have shown collaboratively both in the United States and abroad, including the Queens Museum of Art, the Jersey City Museum and Binghamton University (New York). They have each received fellowships from the Urban Arts Initiative/New York City and the New York Foundation for the Arts, among others, and last year they were the recipients of a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council collaborative residency in Paris at the Cité International des Arts. www.LasHermanasIglesias.com
Traci Molloy is a Brooklyn-based artist and education activist. She explores themes of adolescent culture, loss, and violence through installation, painting, printmaking and drawing. Select exhibition venues include: Ruby Green Gallery (Nashville), IPCNY (New York), The Shore Institute of Contemporary Art (New Jersey), Triple Candie (New York), The Kansas City Artists Coalition, The Contemporary (the Atlanta Biennial), Gallery Aferro (Newark), Artemisia (Chicago), SPACES (Cleveland) and The Columbus Museum of Art (Georgia). Her artwork has been reviewed in both national and regional publications. She has been interviewed on National Public Radio in Atlanta. Her collaborations have been featured on Good Morning America, WPIX Channel 11 News in New York City and CBS Evening News in Atlanta. www.tracimolloy.com
Jorge Rojas is a multidisciplinary artist whose work centers on the creation and processes involved in artistic production. He studied Art at the University of Utah and at Bellas Artes in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Rojas has exhibited in galleries and museums across Mexico, the United States and India including Queens Museum of Art (New York), New World Museum (Houston), Ex Convento del Carmen (Guadalajara), White Box (New York), Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (Los Angeles) and West Chicago City Museum (West Chicago). His work is included in numerous private and public collections including The Mexican Museum (San Francisco) and Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach). Rojas currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He was born in Morelos, Mexico. www.jorgerojasart.com.
Migdalia Luz Barens-Vera is a multidisciplinary artist whose work combines installation, photography, video, performance, public interventions, theater and movement media. Born in Puerto Rico, she now lives in New York and is currently working on her MFA in New Media at Transart Institute (Austria). Luz Barens-Vera is also an AmSat Certified Alexander Technique Teacher, a Yoga Instructor and a Doula. Her solo shows include two multimedia installation exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico and El Antiguo Cuartel de Ballajá (Puerto Rico) as well as represented Puerto Rico in the IX International Biennial of Cuenca (Ecuador). Her work has been exhibited extensively in group shows, performances and theater pieces such as at the Latin American Theater Festival (El Salvador and Nicaragua), The IV Theater Festival (Dominican Republic), Chashama Theater (New York), NewWorks Lab Production (New York), The Experimental Hall-Centro de Bellas Artes (Puerto Rico), Galeria Yemayá (Puerto Rico), Warwick Arts Festival (New York), International Caribbean Art Fair (New York) and Scope Art Fair (Miami). www.migdalialuz.com
Taller Boricua / The Puerto Rican Workshop is a 40-year old artist-run nonprofit art gallery and multidisciplinary cultural space in El Barrio. Our mission is to be a proactive institution for the community in East Harlem by offering programs that stimulate its social, cultural and economic development through the promotion of the arts.