LatinoLA:Edra Soto Joins Exhibit of Works Done During Pandemic

Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
Oct 29, 2020 11:46PM

Puerto Rican artist Edra Soto's work will be featured in "Unreachable Spring," a group exhibit of works done during the Covid-19 pandemic, which opens at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles gallery on Oct. 17. Soto's piece "Let Love Win" depicts many faces on embossed metal which are highlighted by ink of different colors. One of those faces depicts Breonna Taylor, the Black woman killed by police in her own apartment in Louisville, Kentucky, on March 13 of this year. "'Let Love Win' borrows the format of a project I created 15 years ago titled 'A Year in Review,'" says Soto. "The process consisted of color coding and tracing selected newspaper photos onto a piece of soft metal resembling a contemporary version of a religious votive or milagro.

Traditional milagros are small charms used as offerings or for healing purposes widely popular in Mexico and Latin America folklore tradition." Adds Soto, "The powerful significance attached to these modest, soft pieces of pushed metal with their enduring, sincere and sentimental value prompted me to respond in a contemporary context."

Born in Puerto Rico, Soto is an interdisciplinary artist and co-director of the outdoor project space THE FRANKLIN. She has exhibited at the Chicago Cultural Center and Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art and Smart Museum; the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, in Overland Park, Kansas; and the Pérez Art Museum in Miami. Soto's work has been included in three exhibitions supported by the MacArthur Foundation's International Connections Fund: A Chicago/Puerto Rico exhibition at Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, a Chicago/Cuba exhibition at the Smart Museum, and a Chicago/Brazil exchange to take place in Salvador, Brazil. She holds an master's in fine arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a bachelor's degree from Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Diseño de Puerto Rico. She is a Lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

"Unreachable Spring" takes its title from the eponymous painting by Laura Krifka, whose works are also included in the showcase, according to a gallery spokesperson. The painting was slated to be featured as the sole work on the gallery website's "Viewing Room" section, accompanied by an essay by the writer and art critic Andrew Berardini. "Laura began the painting in late March--within days of the start of the Covid lockdown in the U.S., and shortly after learning that she and her husband were expecting their first child," reads a press release. "By summer it had become clear to us that it was the lead for a deeper exploration of ideas and subject matter."Other participating artists in "Unreachable Spring" include June Edmonds, André Hemer, Kambui Olujimi, and Peter Williams.

"Over many months we watched as the Covid-19 pandemic transformed the world and like an earthquake of biblical proportions exposed the fragile fissures of our deteriorating human ecosystem, turning one crisis into many," states the gallery's press release." As the author Daniel Susskind writes in Life Post-COVID-19, 'This crisis is focusing our collective attention on the many injustices and weaknesses that already exist in how we live together. If people were blind to these faults before, it is hard not to see them now.'

"These crises have also inspired artists to respond in kind, prompted by a desire to take refuge in their work and address this transformational moment in their own personal way, says the gallery spokesperson. "By creating art that inspires contemplation and elicits discourse, these paintings, sculptures and photographs bear witness and provide a record of how these artists have experienced life over these past six months. Individual artist statements and Andrew Berardini's essay will be included in their entirety as wall text in the gallery, as well as on our website exhibition page and Laura Krifka's forthcoming Viewing Room.

The Luis De Jesus Los Angeles gallery is located at 2685 S. La Cienega Blvd., in Los Angeles, Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and by appointment. For more information, visit

Luis De Jesus Los Angeles