Xavier Cázares Cortéz

Anatomical Objects on a Table
Xavier Cázares Cortéz, Untitled (from Where the Rubber Meets the Road), Mixed Media Assemblage (Feralscape), 2022

Recent Feralscapes by Xavier Cázares Cortéz
February 6, 2023 – March 10, 2023
Artist Talk: Monday, February 6, 2023 @ 6PM
Reception: Monday, February 6, 2023 @ 7-9PM
The Cerritos College Art Gallery is pleased to present a selection of new assemblages and mixed-media works from the Southern California-based artist Xavier Cázares Cortéz. 

For many years now, Cortéz has been carving a unique path with his inventive practice: somewhere between artist-as-archivist, artist-as-curator, and artist-as-semiotician. Harvesting his source materials from a literal treasure-trove of found objects, collected over an entire lifetime, Cortéz arranges a multiplicity of diverse items into these singularly stunning, decidedly maximalist displays, which he calls ‘feralscapes.’ While, at first glance, they may appear to be somewhat haphazard, these complex structural arrangements, made out of everything from rare antiques to contemporary mass-produced items, are actually far from random in their selection and placement; rather, they are quite consciously organized around variously shared formal, categorical, and/or theoretical patterns. This process relies heavily on the artist’s particular talent for impromptu world building, generated out of discarded possessions and disposable goods, a strategy he attributes to his youthful experience growing up in the rural Coachella Valley with limited wealth, but an overly-active imagination. For his feralscapes, Cortéz lays out, stacks, and juxtaposes a wide proliferation of both familiar and foreign objects, frequently with added textual elements, in order to explore the underlying taxonomic foundations that govern their meaning and, beyond that, of meaning itself. For Cortéz, these networks of signification extend well beyond purely linguistic relationships, expanding directly into, and also perhaps from, the very material world(s) that we collectively inhabit.
His latest feralscapes - presented in the exhibition alongside a selection of boxed assemblages, etched mirrors, and text-based paintings - look to examine the often paradoxical concept of originality and what it might actual mean to be creative in the 21st century, a time of ubiquitous appropriation, populated by constantly mutating memes and image generating algorithms. However, as much as things seem to have changed in recent years, perhaps it’s also much ado about nothing; for, as Cortéz posits, right in the title of this exhibition (ironically, using lyrics pulled from a well-known rock song), “it’s no secret” that “every artist is a cannibal” and “every poet is a thief.”

Xavier Cázares Cortéz has been featured in solo and group exhibitions at various southern California art venues such as the UCR/Sweeney Art Gallery, the Vincent Price Art Museum, the Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art, the Fullerton Art Museum, California State San Bernardino, Plaza de la Raza, Self-Help Graphics, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, Barnsdall Art Park, and the Palm Springs Art Museum. His work has been shown in commercial art galleries such as Valerie Miller Fine Art, Imago Galleries, Denise Roberge in Palm Desert, and Patricia Correia Gallery in Santa Monica. He has been employed and held numerous artist-in-residencies that combined his art practice with educational programming at the Palm Springs Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Getty Foundation, the Bowers Museum, Community Art Resources (CARS), HeART Project, the California Arts Project (TCAP) and others. Cortéz has also served recently as a Lecturer in Art History & Film at California State University, San Bernardino (Palm Desert Campus) and UC Riverside Extension.