Oscar Magallanes

My work, which includes painting, mobiles, sculpture, and video, is influenced by the social and environmental issues of my upbringing in a Mexican-American barrio east of downtown Los Angeles. Conceptually the work is based on identity and the praxis of the oppressed, finding what José Rabasa calls an “elsewhere” rather than allowing for an identity that is based on the “othering” of cultural and historical signifiers. I find this approach an important basis as it allows the work to exist as an entity that is made not in reaction to western culture, but rather as autobiographical, telling of a parallel experience.

While set against the current theater of politics in which xenophobia has replaced the “good neighbor”, my recent works confront the fear of the “other.” They examine the parallel existence of those affected by an institutional racism that disallows their full participation in western society while simultaneously questioning what constitutes an “American” through the interrogation of cultural and coded iconography and visual rhetoric.

Sponsored by GSA and UCSD Vis Arts