The Austin Chronicle

Arts Review

May 27, 2005, Arts

"Migration Uno": Ana Fuentes

Gallery Shoal Creek, May 27-July 2

"Migration Uno," a collaborative inaugural exhibit organized by Vin Gallery and Gallery Shoal Creek, explores movement and identity from the perspective of four Latino artists: René Alvarado, Sandra Fernández, Gustavo Torres, and Ana Fuentes.

Like most of us, Ana Fuentes shares in a rich immigrant history. Born in Chicago to a Mexican physician and an American nurse of Eastern European descent, she spent her childhood in Mexico, with yearly visits to Chicago throughout her youth. She attended college in Greensville, N.C. She is a wife/divorcee/wife and a mother. She is enlivened by opera, literature, and art. As many artists have said of themselves, Fuentes has been compelled to create art since childhood. There is nothing extraordinary in these details.

What is extraordinary about Fuentes is that in her works she aims to attain emotional states and alter external circumstances that are not part of her physical environment. Through her paintings she can become bold, humble, vulnerable, or laughable. She can paint the world the way she wants it to be, shaping the places where it is safe to be raw, naked, and unashamed of existing. In the Survivor series, the hair of the characters composes emotional landscapes: isolated caverns, rooms full of tears, the shadow of a perpetrator, and ringlets of hope. In these oil and graphite works, Fuentes solidifies our compassion for the characters, and we realize that they only need a birth certificate to be in this moment and in this place where we are now.

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