Chain Letters to Myself

Juan Alcazaren

January 11 - February 5, 2011

Gallery 3

Nobody likes receiving chain letters, but Juan Alcazaren, in his latest one-man exhibit at West Gallery (beginning January 11 through February 6), puts together a series of works he collectively identifies as Chain Letters to Myself.

Beyond the prestige and the recognition that come with a flourishing career in the arts, Alcazaren self-effacingly admits, “I am motivated here by the uncertainties I have to deal with in regard to my art making. It is never simply an exercise in self-expression or translating a thought into something palpable. Innumerable factors determine the outcome of a work, or if a work even comes to fruition. Fear, luck, superstition, faith, money, and life [in general] are some of the readily identifiable factors.”

While remaining flexible with materials yet consistent with his style, Alcazaren is trying to play less safe in terms of content, opening himself up to the many challenges artists like him face in completing one work. The main pieces featured in the show will be paintings with the word, “sorry,” painted all over them. “Some will be old works, which I rework by painting “sorry” on them, tongue in cheek, to apologize for how bad or mediocre these works were,” describes Alcazaren.

This “sorry” series began in the recently concluded group exhibit, Twelve by Nine, also at West Gallery. “Actually, I’ve decided that ‘sorry,’ being one of the most meaningful and powerful words in the English language, universally understood, flippant and heart-felt at the same time, is the only word I will ever paint on any work from now on…except for one other work in this show, which has ‘baog’ [infertile] painted on it.”

Do not be deceived by the seeming visual/textual expression of remorse. Alcazaren is looking at this exhibit as crucial in determining his artistic mindset for the rest of his career, and not just this year. “I try to take that stance for all my shows, but this one with the ‘sorry’ series for West [Gallery] feels different. If not, I’ll be the only sorry one.”