EL PASO, TX.-
Juan A. Sandoval II has called El Paso home for more than thirty years, during which time he has avidly developed a diverse art collection by local, national, and international artists. The El Paso Museum of Art
exhibition An Expansive Regard: Selected Works from the Collection of Juan Sandoval represents only a small percentage of a collection that numbers over a thousand. Yet the selection reflects two major thrusts of the Sandoval Collection. The first of these is art of the El Paso area, including Chicano artists such as Manuel Acosta, Luis Jiménez, and Marta Arat, and students and teachers from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). The second focus is Mexican art, ranging from national contemporary and historic figures like Demián Flores, Nahum Bernabé Zenil, Francisco Toledo, and José Clemente Orozco to artists living and working in the region of Oaxaca, a city Sandoval visits each summer. In addition to the artists already mentioned, the exhibition includes work by painters and printmakers such as María Fernanda Matos Moctezuma (Mexican), Frank Romero (American), and Julio César Peña (Cuban). Sandovals penchant for collecting began as a young boy, when he amassed a rock collection in his hometown of Monte Vista in Colorados San Luis Valley. Since then the curiosity of the boy developed into the understanding and expertise of the man, yet there remains Sandovals singular passion for discovering new treasures and making them an intimate part of his life and learning.
Juan Sandoval earned his MA in Library and Information Science from Denver University in 1975, and since the early 1980s he has worked at the UTEP Library. In addition to serving as Reference Librarian and Subject Specialist for Art and Chicano Studies, he works closely with African-American Studies and Asian Studies. Notably, these varied professional activities are mirrored in Sandovals energies as an art collector. His collecting interests encompass prints, photographs, paintings, sculptures, and pottery from the El Paso region, his native San Luis Valley, Oaxaca and other parts of Mexico, and places further afield such as Russia and Poland. And just as Sandoval the librarian enjoys assisting and interacting with students and researchers at all levels, many of the works in his collection are by artists he knows personally. His collecting endeavors extend to autographs and letters by Mexican and Mexican-American writers and artists.
Notwithstanding the eclecticism of the Sandoval Collection, the assembly possesses core characteristics, such as the focus on artists from the El Paso and Oaxaca regions. More generally, a fundamental feature is the attention to the evocative human figure, whose distortions, surroundings, or groupings suggest narratives that are frequently uncanny or open-ended. Free to the public, An Expansive Regard: Selected Works from the Collection of Juan Sandoval highlights this human focus and spirited range that distinguish the expressive figurative art and engaged collecting pursuits of Juan Sandoval.