Presa House is pleased to present two new exhibitions featuring San Antonio artist Fernando Andrade and Corpus Christi artist Joe Peña. Transition: Line and Color, and The Last Stop: Nightscape Series will be on view by appointment March 6, 2020, through March 28, 2020, with an opening reception First Friday, March 6, from 6 to 11 pm, featuring music by The Casbah, Brian Parrish.
Joe Peña (b. 1971) was born in Laredo and raised in Corpus Christi, TX, where he received his MFA from Texas A&M University (TAMUCC) in 2005. In 2011, Peña returned to TAMUCC as the Associate Professor of Art with a concentration in Painting. Peña’s work explores elements of ethnic identity, including aspects of cultural, familial, and social notions relating to his Mexican heritage. The subject matter, portrayed through various elements of still life, portraiture, and urban nightscapes, is a further reference and exploration into personal narratives, as well as traditional and contemporary Mexican customs.
The Last Stop: Nightscape Series could be viewed as an extension of Peña’s string of raw meat paintings that included lengua, tripas, and mollejas that he associates with his Mexican culture and upbringing. This latest series of paintings began with a late-night visit to a local food truck that he often frequents. “The streetlight that generally illuminated the area was out of order, and the only light visible was the glow coming from inside the truck. While not necessarily unusual in itself, from a distance, this view gave the truck the appearance of it almost hovering in the rich black emptiness of space. It was a mysterious and surreal scene and began an exploration of the use of urban nightscapes as a metaphor for the idea of home as a sense of place, not just a physical location.” It’s these comforts of home that bring out the best in Peña, the humble meat cuts, South Texas home cooking, and the unassuming food trucks and restaurants that light the way home.
Peña’s work has been featured in numerous print and online publications including Chicanitas: Small Paintings from the Cheech Marin Collection, Los Tejanos: Chicano Art from the Collection of Cheech Marin, Guitar Aficionado, Texas Monthly, The Austin American Statesman, and ArtScope New England, and Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education. Selected collections include the Cheech Marin Collection of Art, Los Angeles, CA, James Hutson, Los Angeles, CA, and La Universidad de Oaxaca, Oaxaca City, Mexico.