June 21, 2021 Taos, New Mexico

The Harwood Museum of Art

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February 18, 2019

Meet the Artist: Studio 238: Tony Ortega

Studio 238: Doble Sentido, by Tony Ortega

Meet the Artist: March 1, 4-6pm with Artist Talk at 4:30.

The Harwood is pleased to present artist, painter and teacher, Tony Ortega with selections from his body of work, Doble Sentido for the first Studio 238 exhibition of 2019.

Ortega’s art reflects a cultural and historical hybridity. For Doble Sentido, Ortega will exhibit a selection of hand-colored etchings that speak to immigration, migration, cultural appropriation and an intercultural dialog. He states, “For me, hybridity is a process that intersects two separate cultures. It is a constant process of negotiation between different cultural groups… Hybridity can be viewed as the space where communication between cultures takes place.”

Ortega creates artwork by combining digital technology with traditional painting techniques. Both the practices of printing and working in Adobe Photoshop involve working in layers. He uses Adobe Photoshop to merge a variety of appropriated images into new hybrid compositions. With the results of these varied hybrid images, he creates matrices that become the print portion of the compositions and he hand colors them with watercolor paint. As he explains, “I am painting into my prints.”

Artist’s statement:
As a Chicano artist, my identity as well as my cultural and geographic backgrounds are integral in my art.  For me, and for numerous Chicano artists, our experiences, and our cultural hybridity, are the foundation of our artwork, as we address the distinctions between the worlds we experience and how they combine to form our identity. With art, I can address the differences in my world, forming a new and more accurate personal and cultural identity.

Distortion and exaggeration for emotional effect are significant in my art. I apply vivid and dynamic color, overlapping transparent color with opaque color, combining flat space with cubical space. I interweave western concepts of perspective, light/shadow, and overlapping of shapes with the indigenous folk art design of simplified geometric shape, brilliant pastel colors, creating a harmonious composition. I lift, sample, remix and redesign numerous images, icons, and symbols that I come across from popular American, Mexican and Chicano cultures. I juxtapose and superimpose history, politics, sense of place, with humor and satire, to foster opportunities for the bending of meaning.

Artist’s Biography:
Tony Ortega is originally from New Mexico and has family in Pecos and Santa Fe. He holds an MFA in drawing and painting from the University of Colorado and is currently an associate professor for Regis University. He is the recipient of the coveted Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts (1999) and the Mayor's Award for Excellence in the Arts (1998). He has been a working artist and teacher for the past 36 years and is known for his vibrant, colorful artwork. Tony Ortega’s lifelong goal is to contribute to a better understanding of cultural diversity by addressing the culture, history and experiences of Chicanos/Latinos through his art. His work can be found in Denver Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum and the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center. He has exhibited extensively in United States, Latin America and other parts of the world. Oretga lives and works in Denver, Colorado. 

Exhibition dates: March 1 – April 28, 2019