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Make 'Em All Mexican: Exhibition of works by Linda Vallejo on view at Bert Green Fine Art
Our Founders II. Repurposed Porcelain and Cloth Dolls with Custom Handmade Clothing, Acrylic, 18 x 6 x 6", 2011,

CHICAGO, IL.- Linda Vallejo's "Make 'Em All Mexican" project is a provocative and playful approach to ethnic identity and assumptions of hierarchy in the art world. Vallejo reinterprets images and objects from art history, popular culture, and kitsch decor, by re-coloring the faces and skin of the subjects to a darker hue, more suited to the average skin tone of the Mexican people. The result is a gentle re-evaluation of the nature of ethnic assumptions of cultural power. Also included in this exhibition are several works referencing Chicago from her new "Brown Dot Project", in which places with important Latino populations are depicted abstractly using brown dots to represent their numbers. Vallejo's work is widely exhibited and collected and is included in the collection of the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago.

Linda Vallejo Artist Statement: Make ‘Em All Mexican
My formative years were spent in far-flung locations throughout the United States and Europe. During my artistic grounding, I became increasingly immersed in the Chicano/Latino/Mexican-American arts and the indigenous communities – experiences that have informed my cultural perspectives and, by extension, my art practice. It has taken my entire artistic career to fuse an image that defines my multicultural experience of the world and my place in it. Like most of my contemporaries I was taught the finer points of the Western classics, art and architecture, but later found myself living and creating in a milieu where symbols of beauty and culture were manifest in a decidedly alternate circumstance.

Make ‘Em All Mexican leads you down an ironic path to find yourself confronted by some of the most difficult questions of our time, “Do race, color, and class define our status in the world?” “Is it possible to be a part of and earnestly contribute to multiple cultures simultaneously?” “Does color and class define our understanding and appreciation of culture?”

Several years ago, I made a series of trips that included a visit to China as well as to New York and several other major cities in the U.S. It is my custom to include museums and galleries in my itinerary to get a sense of what is happening in the national and international art scene.

On these trips I noticed a growing trend from the mundane to the fantastic—sculpture made of pre-produced objects, wildly untamed images created from found objects put to fascinating new uses, photographic collages combining digital work and hand drawn forms, and images that juxtaposed seemingly contrary cultural symbols and icons. After seeing these works and hundreds more, my thought and creative processes began to shift. I found myself ruminating, “I’m a person of the world. What would the world of contemporary images look like from my own personal Mexican-American, Chicano lens?” I found myself furiously painting directly on antique photographs and figurines to deconstruct iconic images to create an America that included me. I began aimlessly browsing antique malls to find images that I could “call my own.

The Make ‘Em All Mexican series carries a strong electric charge. To some viewers, the images are hyper-political; for others, they are emotional portals to a past remembered and sometimes forgotten; and for another group, they are just down right hilarious. The series is definitely strange and unfamiliar. Recently on television sculptor Richard Serra stated that the work of the artist is not necessarily to create the unique, but rather “the unfamiliar.” I have re-created a familiar world to create a new unfamiliar image, one that is unfamiliar to everyone that’s not Mexican…

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