Stevens Square solitude

A new exhibit examines the dreams and nightmares of local Latino artists

by Greg Corradini

In the exhibit “Expression Multicultural Latino,” bold color is merely a prerequisite to reality. The rest is up to the artist.

For artist Adrian Cruz, aliens and Clint Eastwood are building blocks in his bizarre universe.

Five of Cruz’s paintings focus on restraint. In the foreground of four of them, a mesh covers the paintings’ subject matter. Viewers strain to identify the background beyond this confining frame of reference.

Most of the paintings are of surreal landscapes – lush jungles or flora-infested canopies.

But all are off limits.

Applied like bandages over the pictures, the policing technique evokes a strange sense of imprisonment.

In “Sequidad,” prison bars restrain the viewer from the serene desert landscape of Mexico.

The fifth painting of the bunch breaks with convention. In it, the subject matter stands frightfully accessible.

In its unrestrained glory, “Uprising” depicts a group of aliens standing around a bonfire, fists thrust into the air.

It matters little whether Cruz’s sequence of paintings forms a commentary on immigration or science fiction.

In his mythos, there is imprisonment, and there are renegades.

Around the corner, a black-and-white portrait of Clint Eastwood from “Dirty Harry” is giving the evil eye. Its title is “The Legend.”

Other featured artists’ work, such as Anselmo Bermudez’s, suggests magical realism, a realm where the ordinary marauds as the fantastical.

In Bermudez’s work, humans are plumes of smoke and spectres doing spiritual acrobatics throughout the painting. These works have titles such as “One Day of Mi Life” and “My Fantasy.”

If your reality looks (or feels) anything like Bermudez’s in “Mi Pain Personal,” then you’re in trouble.

In the piece, the viewer is introduced to a human, from torso to head, skinned and blood-red, like meat hanging from a hook. A contorted scream is frozen on half of his face. The picture is not for sale.

A well known Twin Cities Latino artist, Bermudez’s previous work covers a broad range of subject matter from forced labor and fetuses to wild horses cut with violent swathes of yellow and blue across their hides.

With Bermudez and Cruz’s work on exhibit in “Expression Multicultural Latino,” viewers get competing doses of personal realities that know no limits.