Jose Guadalupe Sanchez III


October 24, 2022 – December 9, 2022
Artist Talk: October 24, 2022 @ 6PM
Reception: October 24, 2022 @ 7-9PM

The Cerritos College Art Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new and recent work by the Los Angeles-based interdisciplinary artist José Guadalupe Sánchez III. 

Bringing together a selection of large canvas paintings, free-standing painted sculptures, and video-based performance documentation, Aquí Allá en Todas Partes showcases Sánchez’s ongoing deployment of various personal, familial, and inanimate avatars as a means to self-reflexively explore the socially-constructed nature of reality and the non-linear trajectory of lived experience. Underlying much of the work in the exhibition is an obvious interest in displays of masculine vulnerability as filtered through performative expressions of loss and/or failure.
In the immense eleven foot-long painting entitled He Cried, We Cried, for example, an intimate and naturalistically-rendered portrait of the artist’s late father sits resigned in a downcast, and yet contemplative, pose, enveloped by the stylistically contrasting setting of an abstracted domestic space, rendered in a blocky transparency that exists aesthetically somewhere between Henri Matisse’s Red Studio and a Looney Toons backdrop. Nearby, looping video pieces similarly convey a sense of confessional revelation. In We Heal and Heal in Los Rios, a piñata-style silhouette depicting Luis, the father of the artist’s half-brother, slowly blows in the wind as the voices of the two siblings discuss the complicated lives of their respective patriarchal forbearers in an attempt to better understand them as fully-realized human beings, as well as to counter the frequently-pejorative depictions of Latino fatherhood presented in dominant media narratives. In another video, Man to Man, produced shortly after his own father’s death, Sánchez and fellow artist, Sean Doran, both sit quietly facing the camera in two distinctly regional landscapes, isolated and yet together, each slowly breaking down into tears. In the process, the personal disengagement and stoic absence of emotive expression traditionally taught to young men as the desirable antithesis to imagined weakness is revealed as nothing more than an ineffectual masquerade covering for unacknowledged pain in need of more healthy release. 
This internalized conflict between an authentic presentation of lived experience and the performative shell of masculinity mandated by societal norms also manifests in the physical and video-based documentation of Sánchez’s previous performances presented in the exhibition. In California Xochtli, the artist, covered by a massive papier-mâché sombrero, crawls in an ever-shrinking spiral, reminiscent of the well-worn paths of ancient spiritual labyrinths, around a new-age blanket depicting a sun, a moon, and stars. Each step toward the center of the blanket is narrated by a call and response with the audience, with the assembled viewers inquiring “José, how are you?” while the artist responds in kind, first with empty platitudes, such as “I’m fine” and “I’m alright,” before increasingly answering with more revelatory statements. Finally, reaching the center of the spiral, Sánchez removes the oversized icon of Mexican culture to reveal his own striped-down body, dressed only in a precolonial-style indigenous loincloth and braids, and begins to tearfully unburden himself, reveling in the safe space, however temporary, to freely express his true state of being. In his most recent performance, I Find It Hard to Say, presented at the October 6th LA Freewaves X-aMen-ing event at the Los Angeles State Historic Park, Sánchez somberly carrys a glowing three-legged stool, as if a priest walking in a sacred mass or, perhaps, a martyr bearing a cross to his own crucifixion. Seemingly at random, the artist plants the stool on the ground and prepares to sit, pulling out a crumpled paper, apparently about to begin to read aloud from an important script. But each time, as he begins to sit, the chair collapse underneath him and he falls to the ground, where he rolls around in anger and shame until he’s able to reassemble the stool and starts the process all over again, destined to never actually reach the beginning of his suggested speech.
The simultaneity of playfulness and melancholy surrounding moments of failure is also apparent in the newest works in the exhibition, a series of paintings from Sánchez’s TrocaNaut Chronicles, a futuristic reimagining of his own family’s immigration story. Using the strategy of world building inherent to science fiction, Sánchez develops a personalized version of Latinx-futurism in which the familiar vans and pickup trucks once driven by his father and other family members are here envisioned as interstellar space ships, cosmic shells for their itinerant drivers, now crash landed and marooned on distant planets. Wistful last messages from the lost travelers are presented in the didactics alongside these colorful and sequin-decorated paintings, furthering the link Sánchez builds between beauty and vulnerability throughout the exhibition.

José Guadalupe Sánchez III is an interdisciplinary artist and educator born and raised in West Los Angeles. Relying heavily on self-reflexivity, his work is an investigation of the multilayered experiences of varying Brown social realities in Los Angeles spanning the past, present, and future. This includes looking at the structural nature of oppositional value systems, intelligences, subjectivities, and where they become validated or not. Sánchez attained a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Southern California, as well as a Performance Studies Graduate Certificate and a Post-MFA Teaching Fellowship. He received his undergraduate degree from Otis College of Art and Design, where he double-minored in arts education and community engagement, and an Associate degree from Santa Monica Community College in Liberal Arts: Social and Behavioral Sciences. Sánchez has exhibited and performed in a variety of spaces including LA Freewaves, the Mistake Room, the Landing Gallery, CurateLA’s digital platform, Redcat Disney/CalArts Theater, USC Mateo Studios, Human Resources Gallery, 18th Street Art Center, UTA Artist Space, Plaza de la Raza, and more. He is currently serving as a tenure-track assistant professor at Occidental College in the Art & Art History department.