My Non-Imaginary Friend and His Stuff
January 30, 2022
Dragon Crab and Turtle is pleased to present "My Non-imaginary Friend and All His Stuff" by Adrian Gonzalez.
Portraying a stand-in for Gonzalez, a shoeless life-sized paper mâché doll dressed in jeans and a shirt can be found in the overly stuffed back room in his installation titled "My Non-imaginary Friend and All His Stuff." The figure sits quietly surrounded by paintings and Moroccan rugs in a lounge chair with his belongings laid out in front of him. The doll references Bizarro, Superman's villainous "mirror image" and a manigote, which translates to dummy, paper doll, or doodle. Gonzalez grew up with these paper dolls, typically made to reference figures in history or pop culture that are burned at midnight on New Year's Eve as a way to be rid of anything awful you would want to leave behind in the año viejo, old year. In the case of this doll, Gonzalez decided to keep and let it continue to live as an ongoing effigy of himself, visiting unlikely situations and places away from the artist. Here he sits guarding his belonging or possibly riding a flying magic carpet. Gonzalez associates his combative, awkward, and improvisatory creations with words and artistic methods to show influential references in how storytelling, superstition, and tradition influence his making.
Gonzalez compares his way of making to Spanglish—a hybrid dialect that Gonzalez speaks—as a starting point for borrowed fragments of language. Spanglish presents a distinct style of expression with original vocabularies. He uses playful yet provocative phrases and expressions in Spanish and Spanglish to spark new thinking and describe his work. He slices pictures and print media or cuts down wood to screw, stitch, or glue them back together to make collage and assemblages objects presented as sculpture, painting, prints, and objects. Gonzalez uses a variety of haptic but rational strategies and materials to reflect being in-between languages in the United States to intertwine identity and abstraction. Ultimately, Bilingualism is a lens through which he not only considers language but all forms of communication, including art, exploring cross-cultural communication and its generative misunderstandings.
Adrian Gonzalez received his MFA from Washington University in St. Louis. His work has been exhibited at Art St. Louis, MO; Greenpoint Gallery, NY; Mildred Lane Kemper Museum of Art, MO; Orlando Museum of Art, FL and Bruno David Gallery, MO.
"My Non-imaginary Friend and All His Stuff" opens on January 30th.
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