RAUL VILLARREAL

ARTIST STATEMENT

        Ambos Mundos (IN)Visible Traces Firmas Bling Bling Boom Boom Ilusive Land Puros Villarreal Resume Statement Upcoming Events Contact

“we find ourselves in the moment of transit where space and time cross to produce complex

figures of difference and identity, past and present, inside and outside, inclusion and

exclusion,”

from The Location of Culture, by Homi K. Bhabha.

The (IN)VISIBLE TRACES series of works is inspired by personal memories and experiences,

the assimilation of other cultures, appropriated images from mass media, and old family

photographs.  Utilizing personal iconography, through assemblages and a process of layering

of  these different elements, I try to convey a sense of multiple realities, time references,

and existence.

The BLING BLING - BOOM BOOM. The background scenes in this seriesare mostly

appropriated from the news media, while the images of the figures are from consumer

advertisements.  The two distinctively different media sources are juxtaposed in order to

present an absurd and cynical perspective on a society obsessed with celebrities, gangsters,

glamour, and the “bling” culture. Powerful and influential advertising campaigns that often

ignore the “other” with their branding somehow do reach and influence the culturally diverse

youth of the inner cities. However, the suburban American dream with its super sized vehicles,

mega malls, guarded gated communities, designer coffee shops, and glorious mansions is not

immune to the urban influence.  Similar to the global phenomenon of reverse colonization the

inner city forged rhythms, fashion statements, and street “lingo” has had its own influence on

the suburban youth. Cultural borders are constantly being crossed and blurred in the sprawling

American landscape, while moral imperatives are replaced by the “here and now” mentality of

a consumer driven society.

The AMBOS MUNDOS series is inspired by arcane spiritual and religious symbols (signatures) from

African cultures, which made their way to the Americas several centuries ago during the slave

trade. Images from altars and sacred objects are incorporated inside the symbols and

fragmented to maintain secrecy. Through a process of assemblage of these different elements,

I try to juxtapose a spiritual realm with that of reality—the recognized with the unrecognizable.

My philosophical approaches are based on transculturalism and multiculturalism in the

context of Postmodernism, as well as Postcolonial theories. These ideas are inspired by

Jacques Derrida’s theory on Deconstruction and perception, Homi K. Bhabha’s postmodern and

postcolonial cultural theories.