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Carlos Villa: Roots and Reinvention

Jun 17 - Sep 03, 2022

Wednesday - Saturday Noon - 5:00 p.m.

401 Van Ness

San Francisco, CA 94102

554-6080

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Carlos Villa was a first-generation Filipino immigrant born in San Francisco and raised in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood. The exhibitions give viewers the opportunity to see the work of an artist with deep roots in San Francisco and a deeply influential thinker, activist, and educator. Carlos Villa: Roots and Reinvention at the SFAC Main Gallery highlights Villa’s art from the 1980s and the 1990s, a period of reinvention for Villa. The exhibition presents Villa’s practice at a turning point as he began to shift away from the large abstract works and colorful feathers that he became known for, to works that delve into the history of Filipinos in America, immigration, and his own family archives.

SF/Arts Curator Insight

The SFAC Gallery joins two other local venues to mount a massive retrospective of Tenderloin-born, Filipino American artist, educator, and activist Carlos Villa, using his 1980 performance titled "Ritual" as its starting point. "Ritual" centered Villa's body as a site of "border culture," highlighting the complex intersection of Asian, African, and Oceanic influences intertwined in Filipino traditions, while the artist nodded to American Abstract Expressionism by creating an "action painting" from the movements and materials of the performance. SFAC spotlights Villa's reinvention during the 1980s and '90s when the focus of his practice, which utilized a huge range of media including paint, wood, feathers, and blood, began reflecting on the experiences of the Manong, the first generation of Filipinos to migrate to the U.S. Villa's artistic evolution reveals cultures as open systems "in the constant process of transformation, redefinition, and re-contextualization,” an important reminder given the tenor of contemporary cultural debate.

Mark Taylor

SF/Arts Curator

San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery

401 Van Ness

San Francisco

[email protected]

http://www.sfartscommission.org/gallery/

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