Einar & Jamex de la Torre | Back to the Forests (Neopaganismo)
Exhibition: July 23 - September 9, 2020
Koplin Del Rio is pleased to present 'Back to the Forests' (Neopaganismo) from Mexican-American artists Einar & Jamex de la Torre. The exhibition, which includes a selection of large scale lenticular works and hand blown glass sculptures, is the brothers’ sixth with the gallery. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and immigrating to Southern California as adolescents, the brothers’ distinct and complex collaborative work is influenced heavily by their Mexican background, and a combination of Native Mexican, Spanish and Aztec ancestry, resulting in a rich Mestizo hybrid. Drawing from mythology & legends of “Forest People,” Neopaganismo, in the brothers’ standard state of ultra-baroque excess and tragic comedy, indicates parallels between our current environmental moment and supernatural figures of mythology dating back thousands of years. In short; highlighting our supreme failure to evolve and to listen to nature in her myriad voices.
Following the exhibition “Florentine Syndrome” in Wroclaw in the fall of 2019, the brothers became interested in the Northern Crusades, and the eradication of pagan culture in the Baltic region. In their research, among multitudes of supernatural beings and spirits, they stumbled upon “vodyanoy,” a figure from Slavic mythology identified as a male water spirit. Vodyanoy is said to appear as a nude old man with a frog-like face, greenish beard, and long hair, his body covered in algae, muck, often black fish scales. He has webbed paws instead of hands, a fish tail, and eyes that burn like red-hot coals. He usually rides along his river on a half-sunk log, making loud splashes. Consequently, he is often dubbed "grandfather" or "forefather" by the local people. Local drownings are said to be the work of the vodyanoy.
Back to the Forests (Neopaganismo) presents a fantastical body of work exploring the relationship between old world pagans and historically ubiquitous legends of mythological “Forest People” with modern day environmental figures like Greta Grunberg and The Lorax, as their contemporary incarnations.
“The belief in fantastic creatures of the forest is quite prevalent in Scandinavia, to this day. It is perhaps in response to their alarms that we need to consume much less, to evolve into a natural existence and to eliminate economic growth’ as the foundational measure of success. Perhaps we do belong in the woods, after all.”-the de la Torre Brothers
BIO | EINAR & JAMEX DE LA TORRE
Collaborating brothers, Einar and Jamex De La Torre, were born in Guadalajara, México, 1963, & 1960. In a sudden family move, the brothers moved to The United States in 1972, going from a traditional catholic school to a small California beach Town. They both studied at California State University at Long Beach and taught at the prestigious Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington. Currently the brothers live and work on both sides of the border, The Guadalupe Valley in Baja California, México, and San Diego, California. The complexities of the immigrant experience and contradicting bicultural identities, as well as their current life and practice on both sides of the border, inform their narrative and aesthetics.
The Brothers have been collaborating in earnest since the 1990’s. Over the years they have developed their signature style featuring mix media work with blown glass sculpture and installation art. Their pieces represent a multifaceted view of life that reflects a complex and humorous aesthetic that could be seen as multi-layered baroque. Their approach is additive, constantly combining material and meaning. Influences range from religious iconography to German expressionism while also paying homage to Mexican vernacular arts and pre-Columbian art. In the last 15 years they have been creating photomural installations and using Lenticular printing as a major part of their repertoire. They have won The USA Artists Fellowship award, The Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, The Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, and The San Diego Art Prize. They have had 18 solo museum exhibitions, completed 8 major public art projects and have participated in 4 biennales. Collidoscope: A de la Torre Brothers Retro-Perspective // Colidoscopio: Una Retrop-Perspectiva de los hermanos de la Torre, curated by Selene Preciado and organized by the Smithsonian Latino Center and Riverside Art Museum for The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture & Industry (aka "The Cheech") is slated to be the inaugural exhibition at The Cheech, the new national center of Riverside Art Museum that will house the contemporary Chicana/o art collection of Cheech Marin in California. The exhibition will open in Fall 2021 and will travel through October 2025.