For Zona MACO 2016, De Soto Gallery will present a selection of works by Joaquin Trujillo and Brian Paumier from their recent solo projects, Mal de Ojo (Trujillo) and Act of Faith (Paumier). After many years working together as TrujilloPaumier, both artists set out on their own with personal projects that are profoundly autobiographical, mystical, and cathartic. As a dialogue between the artists’ practices, it speaks to transculturation and the complexity of linkages between the past and the present, here and there.
Trujillo’s Mal de Ojo (the “evil eye”) is based on his recollections of being gravely ill as a child in his hometown on the outskirts of Zacatecas, Mexico. When scarlet fever, thought to have been the result of a curse, nearly took his eyesight and his life, his family turned to the local curandero (healer) to save him. The series is in two parts: fetishistic portrayals of the artist’s trauma and tabletop arrangements of folk remedies, and collections of personal amulets and totems. Often presented as diptychs or triptychs, the scenes deal with aspects of isolation, the need for protection, and the value of faith. Trujillo began the series in Varanasi, India, inspired by Hindu customs surrounding the evil eye, and continued in Mexico and the US over the course of three years. These consistent breaks of time and space are sewn into the fabric of the work and emulate a structured slippage of heritage across culture, place, and time.
Act of Faith is the fulfillment of a promise Brian Paumier made to the Virgin of Guadalupe, his adopted patron saint, for her help escaping an ambush in an Iraqi war zone. It is a solemn offering of gratitude — a tribute to the artist’s personal heroes, his cross-cultural upbringing, his experience as an American soldier, his life as an artist with Trujillo and their decade-long partnership. The images and objects repeat ritualistically, appearing in a multiplicity of forms — as traditional prints, in handmade books, as curios, and as a variety of uniquely adorned cuadros (panels), assemblages embellished with stickers, glitter, spray paint, and appliqués, mounted to panel and sealed in a glossy varnish. Arranged in altar-like configurations, Paumier’s installations chronicle a quest for identity, masculinity, and equanimity.
Joaquin Trujillo (b. 1973, Los Angeles, raised in Zacatecas, Mexico) received his BFA from Art Center College of Design. His work is in permanent collections at San Francisco MoMA and the Amon Carter Museum and has been included in their recent exhibitions: Portraits and Other Likenesses (SF MoMA) and Color! American Photography Transformed (Amon Carter Museum). Trujillo is based in Brooklyn, NY and Zacatecas, Mexico.
Brian Paumier (b. 1973, Oxnard, California) received his MFA from ICP/Bard and his BFA from Art Center College of Design. His work is in museum, corporate, and private collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the 21c Museum Hotel in Durham, NC, and Beth Rudin DeWoody collection. His first monograph, Act of Faith: A Soldier’s Manda, was produced with support of ICP and the Adams Fund. Paumier is based Cleveland, Ohio.
Their collaborative work as TrujilloPaumier has been exhibited in galleries and institutions in the United States, Mexico, and France and is in the permanent collections of The Weisman Foundation and The William Benton Museum of Art.