Born to Mexican immigrants in Walla Walla, WA, Juventino Aranda’s search for self-identity informs his process as it relates to the social, political, and economic struggles of Chicanos. His art and activist practices are influenced by the grassroots movements of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, as well as the formal and conceptual strategies of post-minimalist artists. From the street to the gallery, he is an archeologist, historian, and architect to a shifting Chicano community, engaging current political debates and notions of the American dream.
Aranda’s recent work draws on his family history and particularities of his childhood that speak to broader cultural themes. The mass-produced art that his mother purchased but never removed from its corrugated cardboard protectors, for instance, appear in Aranda’s work as subtle markers of social aspiration and personal economies of value. For his exhibition at Frye Art Museum—Aranda’s first in a museum setting—the artist continues this line of inquiry and presents a new body of work that explores the ways in which common objects and imported products become emblems of dual cultural identity.
The exhibition includes sculptural and wall-hung works that are created through a variety of technical processes to communicate the essence of Aranda’s (re)appropriated source material, which spans Little Golden books and Pendleton blankets to panaderia calendars and loteria cards. Using shifts in scale and context to estrange and magnify the significance of these objects, Aranda explores the subtle ways in which ideology is communicated through—and belief systems form around—seemingly mundane aspects of the material world.
Juventino Aranda lives and works in Walla Walla and received his BFA from Eastern Washington University. Solo exhibitions of his work include Weed the Lawn and Feed the Roses at Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle (2017). He has participated in group shows at Terrain (2016, 2015) and Saranac Art Projects (2016) in Spokane, WA, and Center on Contemporary Art, Seattle (2016), among other venues.
Aranda received the 2016 James W. Ray Venture Project Award, which is funded by the Raynier Institute & Foundation through the Frye Art Museum | Artist Trust Consortium. The award supports and advances the creative work of outstanding artists living and working in Washington State and culminates in an exhibition at the Frye Art Museum.