McAllen Public Library proudly presents MEXICA, a series of paintings by Brownsville artist Mark Clark. Since his first one man show in Washington D.C., Clark has had about dozen individual exhibitions and participated in several hundred group shows in the United States and Mexico. After retiring from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in 2003, Clark moved to Brownsville where he directs Galeria 409. MEXICA will have an opening reception on June 10, 2pm, in the Lobby Gallery of McAllen Public Library, corner of N. 23rd and Nolana Ave. The event is free and open to the public.
Twenty vividly chromatic paintings are displayed, demonstrating Clark’s robust color sense. His colorations give a nod to the pre-Hispanic codices (an inspirational source) but thrust them forward into the broader and more intense hues of the current era. Clark’s paintings revive the gods of ancient Mexico. Their depictions, from faded remnants in the Borgia Codex and other such sources, come to life once more, but this time in the vivid colors of the 21st century. In additional works, images from the codices are reinterpreted as they might have been depicted in today’s Border culture. If the Aztec culture had survived, is this what their cultural documentation would look like today?
According to Clark, one morning, after watching previews of upcoming superhero movies at the local cineplex, he began to ponder the possibility of making a film with a cast of the original superheroes, the gods. And what better gods to use than the pantheon of the Aztecs? His visits to Mexican anthropology museums had left him with a passing knowledge of Tlaloc, the rain god, Coatlicue, the earth goddess, and Tezcatlipoca, the god of war. What if a student working on an oral history project accidentally discovered the entire Aztec pantheon hiding out in an old folks home in Brownsville, Texas? Enfeebled by neglect, withered and senile, the gods have passed the time since the fall of Tenochtitlan hiding in the furthest corner of their old empire, which is now (nominally) a part of the United States. A curator and a janitor from the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia y Historia in Mexico City, cross the border to investigate this discovery and decide to take the old deities back home. They rent a bus and take off, posing as a group of Conchero dancers headed to the Guadalupana. Strangely, the closer the bus gets to Mexico City, the younger and more powerful the gods become.
To illustrate his tale, Clark painted a small study of gods on a bus, which sold before it was dry. He did a dozen or so studies, then embarked on the large-scale works that comprise this exhibit.
MEXICA will be open to the public during normal library hours. For library hours visit www.mcallenlibrary.net This exhibit was made possible by the McAllen Arts Council.
For more information, contact Nancy Moyer, Chair of McAllen Arts Council at email@example.com