LINEA ACTUAL/CURRENT LINE: Emerging Art from Mexico’s Northern Border

Those of us living in Los Angeles have a limited knowledge of life across the border. We believe it’s a life filled with drugs and gun violence, children thrown into the streets to beg, and that any kind of sexual pleasures are procured easily.

This month the Avenue 50 Studio brings you an exhibition from young twenty-something emerging artists who expand our understanding of currently growing up in a border city. We are not presented with blood, corrupt government, and violent imagery. Rather, an inward, questioning look at contemporary Mexican life – a society facing the same issues other multicultural, class-based societies face. A life where skin color and features reflect on class identity, and today’s family structure is oppressive or farcical. These young artists, filled with youthful exuberance, hold a mirror to our collective face and question us about societal decisions – where the very seams that should hold a society together are called into question.

We are thrilled to bridge Los Angeles and Tijuana in this exciting collection of works at the Avenue 50 Studio. Exhibit runs July 13th – August 4th, 2013.


The point of departure of this visual proposal is the city of Tijuana, without this signifying a representation of the city’s identity or social reality that prevails in the Northern Border of Mexico.

However, this primarily impacts the concept of the artwork and the discourse that some of the artists offer us in this exhibition. As in the case of Ana Andrade’s photographs or the drawings, paintings and sculptures by Toni Larios. The artists construct their stories from the images generated in the daily life of the city–a city that changes from day to day, populated with strange characters and unusual transient environments, where the lost and dazed looks of migrants that pursue the promised dreams, face impossible realities.

The construction of this project is conjoined artists: Ana Andrade, Cesar Vazquez, Guadalupe Hernandez, Hilda Vanessa Ramos, Jonathan Ruiz de la Peña, Richard Mendtorr and Toni Larios. Each of them is in an early stage of their artistic production, but they have all drawn a firm line to follow in the field of the arts, where their creative process and their personal and artistic development is represented in the pieces in this exhibition.

The exhibition includes works of different techniques, formats and media including: photography, video, painting, sculpture, drawing and installation.

The selection does not have a thematic focus; rather, it seeks to show the development of the artists and their aesthetic contributions in the field of contemporary art. Each one addresses different issues that comprise their individual interests. In this sense CURRENT LINE, Young Art of the Northern Border, aims to become an experimental exhibition that follows the times and an historic moment. Where the vision of these youth will be important for what it represents: Art as a means of communicating ideas, and the processes into which art is inserted.

The title explores different connotative fields. On the one hand referring to drawing, a discipline that is developed by the vast majority of the participating artists; on the other, referring to the border that mediates between the U.S. and Mexico, known as the dividing line. The word current finds its meaning in the recently produced artwork reflecting contemporary Tijuana.

— Antonio Escalante


Guadalupe Hernandez: Crossing Boundaries is my recent series, where ironically emotions are in the air while the characters are experiencing physical and emotional pain; as a reference to edgy and repetitive situations where the only thing to do is to keep up or throw this suffering away.

Ana Andrade: This series is about the people who live in the Tijuana river just in front of the border. Most of them were deported from the US and they got stuck living there. They earn their living recycling materials. They gave me the frames, which represents symbolically that they are crossing the border.

Jonathan Ruiz de la Peña: Choque is an installation about a crash. We see the backside of a zeppelin which has crashed into the wall with the front of the zeppelin disbursed. I think of crashes heard round the world.

Hilda Vanessa Ramos: Three generations of her family: Grandmother, mother and daughter.

Richard Mendtorr: “Honest & Heartfelt Lord of Lies” is the name of my artistic statement that theoretically supports all of my work. I decided to name it that way because I define all of my artworks as tiny lies that contain huge truths.

Toni Larios: The drawings and sculpture made by Toni Larios represent beings extracted from his imagination but at the same time, are a manifestation taken from the urban landscape.

César Vazquez: Cesar’s work is divided into three parts: drawing, collage and installation, and then three-dimensionalizes the pieced into a sculptural form. [note: Two of Vazquez’s works are not pictured in the image list above. If you are interested in seeing these works not shown, please email Avenue 50 Studio]