Mariano Chavez : Ouroboros
Date: 9/8/2019 - 12/15/2019
Raised in the southwest desert of Texas fifty miles from the Mexican border, Mariano Chavez was drawn to art at an early age. “I saw my grandfather who was Native American put a snake on a fence so the rains would come,” recalls Chavez. Ouroboros showcases works from across the arc of Chavez’s career which focus on the harsh, unforgiving landscape, and transitional places where indigenous beliefs blend together with catholic ones.
Working in a narrative tradition, Mariano gravitated towards image-makers that used bold, graphic storytelling methods. This impulse was re-enforced at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where Chavez earned his BFA and MFA, studying with renowned Imagists Jim Nutt and Ray Yoshida.
His art production is constructed from snake sheds, beehives, refurbished medical equipment and also more traditional art making media. The resultant paintings, photograms, prints and sculptures feature eerie nomads such as Night Shiner, Twinners and Ghost, who traverse isolated landscapes fulfilling ominous, quest-like destinies, all of which Chavez chronicles in accompanying publications, soundtracks and videos. Artist, gallerist and frequent collaborator with other creatives (under the rubric of Teeth Agency), Chavez’s practice is multidirectional and multifaceted.
The fundamentally pyscho-sexual tension of Chavez’s work has led to frequent comparisons throughout his career to Ed Paschke. Featuring attention grabbing or taboo subject matter meant to jolt the viewer’s perception, Chavez, like Paschke before him, has made the depiction of outsiders central to his practice.