PaperCity Magazine

September 2018- Dallas

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Page 139 of 167

mesmerized by his molding of the clay for at least a half hour before we realized he was blind. He still creates objects as if his eyesight isn't impaired, drawing on memories from the days when he could see. His wife and family helped every step of the way — not an uncommon occurrence among artisan families. The notion of family involvement was mirrored by the back-strap weavers we visited next, La Familia Santo Tomas Jalieza. A mother, her two daughters, and granddaughter were among the artisans making stunning and complex creations with long strands of thread and their wooden looms. The grounds where they live and work were magical, with beautiful succulents and overgrown gardens, a small livestock area of chickens and turkeys, and a to-die-for outdoor kitchen. In the afternoon, we continued exploring with a visit to Centro de las Artes de San Agustin (CASA). CASA is a former paper mill situated outside the city with breathtaking views of the San Agustin hills, which Francisco Toledo opened in 2006 as a facility for exhibition, production, and education. We discovered this textile factory via Texas artist Gary Goldberg, whose large textiles are made by a group of artisans working at CASA. Gary has been traveling to Oaxaca for 18 years, photographing the beautiful, varied, decaying walls of the city. In the last couple of years, he enlisted the talented artisans at CASA to create felted-wool textiles from his photographic images. The evolution of the photograph is innovative and the final textile products are undeniably beautiful. Gary's work is also on view as part of the "Mexico" exhibition. More inspiration! We ended the day at the home of artist/activist/curator Marietta Bernstorff and her daughter, Anais, whose home has spectacular views of San Agustin. We sat down for a homemade meal involving two varieties of delicious mole. After dinner, we gathered in the living room for tea and sweets, and Marietta shared her fascinating personal family history and contextualized much of what we had learned about the arts and culture in Oaxaca. She has an extensive knowledge of the community and works as an ally for many people. Her husband, Anthony Turok, is a well-known war photographer and is exhibiting a selection of photographs in the "Mexico" show. DAY THREE: THE FUTURE The tradition of print-making in Oaxaca runs deep and appears extensively in contemporary art. In a city of 250,000 people, there are more than 30 presses. We visited one of the best, Taller Fernando Sandoval, and were given full access to the flat files to view works by Dr Lakra, Dan McCleary, Francisco Toledo, and others. As we were viewing elegant black-and-white etchings by L.A.-based Dan McCleary, the artist himself walked in. Dan was in town to work on a project with Marietta, with whom we'd had dinner the night before. This seems to be the way Oaxaca works. After only three days, we saw the openness of the community and continually ran into familiar faces. In the final hours of our last full day, we spent time in the studio of the youthful Alberto Aragon Reyes, an ambitious painter and sculptor with whom our group fell in love. Alberto is from the coast and has a massive collection of old wood fishing boats, some upwards of 100 years old. He has put the boats on stilts so it appears as if they are floating in his 8,000-square-foot space. His mysterious figurative paintings and sculptures intrigued the collectors in our group, and before we knew it, shipping arrangements were being made. DAY FOUR: HOPEFULNESS We left on an early-morning flight. I couldn't stop thinking about the exchange between Lachlan and the strange, beautiful woman on the plane earlier this week. The feeling I garnered from that moment was hope. Ultimately, it was this notion of hope that became the central tenet of the works I included in "Mexico." It is my gallery's modest way of highlighting the historic cultural relations between the United States and Mexico — and showing our hope for the relationship to evolve and to grow. "Mexico" at Erin Cluley Gallery is on view through October 7. Artists include Trine Ellitsgaarde (Oaxaca), Gary Goldberg (Wichita Falls), Design by Merkki (Guadalajara), Francisco Moreno (Dallas), Cruz Ortiz (San Antonio), Francisco Toledo (Oaxaca), René Treviño (Baltimore/ Originally from Texas), and Antonio Turok (Oaxaca). Erin Cluley Gallery, 414 Fabrication St., 61 Parroquia de Santo Domingo, Oaxaca Centro de la Artes de San Agustin Casa Colonial B&B ANNA BRUCE Pitiona Mezquite Gastronomía y Destilados (continued from page 136)

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