THE HYBRID AESTHETICISM OF A PHOTOGRAPHER, RIDING THE RIO GRANDE – Rubén Ortiz Torres, Mexican visual artist who draws on Zapata, Disney and punk culture

Expressions of art, between tropics’s utopia and complexities of the present

Through sporting images and portraits of Mexican heroes, his work draws on visual sources concerning two nations. Born in 1964 in Mexico City, the Mexican photographer, painter and director Rubén Ortiz Torres created, among other things, a video installation entitled Alien Toy, included in the 1997 show InSite in San Diego. Together with Jesse Lerner, in 1995 he co-directed the feature documentary Frontierland.

Considered an innovator of Mexican postmodernism, he created works using series of photographs and feature films, as well as paintings and sculptures, photographic collages and various art performances. In San Diego, well known for becoming one of the first Mexican artists to position himself in Post-Modernism, Rubén Ortiz Torres is a faculty member at the University of California’s Department of Visual Arts. Also talking about it in his blog For The Record, he uses a personal imprint that gives his works an adequate alternative way to probe the issues inherent in art’s globalization.

After studying plastic arts at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas, in 1990 Rubén Ortiz Torres used a scholarship to study at the California Institute of the Arts, obtaining a Master of Fine Arts. His work is visible in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego. His work investigates the way in which the artistic avant-gardes dialogue between popular culture in Latin America and the United States.

In the early 1980s, he began his creative adventure as a photographer, printmaker and painter. Drawing on various types of artistic expressions, Rubén Ortiz Torres explores issues relating to the cultural intersection between Mexico and the United States. This Mexican-born artist has lived and worked in Los Angeles since 1990. Through a project that explored the cultural paradoxes of the global world, in his first retrospective exhibition, he offered visitors an intellectually comic cosmopolitan visual practice.

Since 1982, the fruits of his creativity have been present in 25 solo exhibitions, as well as more than 100 group shows spread across continents. To dissolve the distinctions that gravitate around the concepts of beautiful and contemporary art, using popular culture Rubén Ortiz Torres exemplifies the levels of exchange in art in Mexican-American culture. His work is feature in publications from the international art world, including in Art Images, Flash Art and Art in America.

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