As you’ve probably already heard as you pass by the entrance to the Art Building, the second round of graduate exhibitions are now open to the public. In AB Lobby downstairs and MK Gallery upstairs is Sam Guerrero, whose Stop Crying explores the complexity behind notions of masculinity and cultural identity. Sam’s exhibition statement:
In his 1957 essay “Mythologies”, theorist Roland Barthes describes myths as a language. He uses semiotics to explain how language has the ability to inject meaning into an object. This meaning is comprised of ideologies created by the ruling class that society accepts as standard. In other words, the myth generates a set of rules infused with meaning that becomes perceived as universal. The body of work included in Stop Crying reflects this notion. Guerrero specifically looks at his identity through two lenses; a Hispanic male, and an American male. Interested in unpacking the language that he sees in them both, Guerrero has found overlapping themes that tie the two together. Specifically, Guerrero focuses on the area of gesture and the masked intimacy that coincides with the aggressive nature of male interaction. He seeks to understand how such interactions affect how one identifies as male, and how such a fluid thing as identity is capable of being shaped by so many concrete ideals.
Guerrero’s work utilizes the familiar language found within America’s visual culture—injected with enough peculiarity to question the validity of its content. The ultimate goal of the exhibition Stop Crying is to sort through the multiple layers of insecurities that exist within the multi-dimensional structure of his identity. Guerrero spotlights the incongruities that he sees in his own experiences and the environments that have perpetuated them to him. Guerrero’s work seeks to question the existing sources of “normality” by trying to expose the aspects that should be questioned but instead are often accepted.
Stop Crying runs through April 26, with a reception held on Saturday, April 21, from 5–7pm. Guerrero will also be giving a public lecture tonight in Shattuck Hall Annex with Rochelle Kulei at 7pm.