One After 909 is pleased to present OPEN / ABIERTO, a solo exhibition by Salvador Dominguez. With his multimedia work, Dominguez engages the audience in a conversation about cultural assimilation through the shared language of retail. Viewers walk into a store-like experience where artworks reinterpreting items such as vanity plate holders, cross necklaces, and candies display the production of a cultural hybrid.
As a first-generation immigrant, Dominguez learned to move as an interpreter between two verbal and cultural languages from a young age. He often assumed this role at a store where he facilitated transactions between the English speaking employee and his Spanish speaking parents. His paintings and sculptures employ iconographies from both his Mexican heritage and his American upbringing to question the way identity is formed and acquired. Instead of pointing out the cultures’ differences, Dominguez highlights the outcomes of their combination. For example, he bridges Mexican and American cultures through his depiction of air fresheners, which are displayed hanging from bronze rearview mirrors. The fresheners’ recognizable silhouettes draw viewers in, but the unfamiliar Spanish words and icons engage them in an exercise of interpretation and understanding. Innovative art-making processes merge with traditional blue-collar practices to spark a conversation on society’s mode of determining value and confining symbols.
Combining materials from both artistic and manufacturing traditions, ranging from painting to tile laying, the artworks in OPEN / ABIERTO create a visual pidgin about coexistence and assimilation within distinct social, economic and cultural realities. Dominguez uses materials interchangeably to draw attention on the value of labor, and treats them like language to evoke memories. Motifs found in the ornamental iron gates from the Los Angeles suburb of his childhood are assembled into custom frames, and his mother’s embroidery patterns are reinterpreted as paintings made from melted Crayola crayons.
Here, the audience is invited to look through Dominguez’ childhood memories of having mastered neither Spanish or English via works that bear his artistic voice, which simultaneously embraces and exceeds both languages.