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The collaborating brothers merge blown glass, lenticular prints and mixed media works in immersive experience across cultures
SAN ANTONIO — Collaborating brothers Einar and Jamex de la Torre will make their San Antonio solo exhibition debut next year with “de la Torre Brothers: Upward Mobility,” on view at the McNay Art Museum March 1-Sept. 15, 2024. The mixed media works on display will feature the brothers’ signature style that combines blown glass sculpture, lenticular prints, video, installation and other materials and techniques in unexpected ways.
“Concepts of identity are really important in our work,” said Einar de la Torre. “We are questioning what it means to be American and what it means to be Mexican and hopefully opening doors to the complexities of the immigrant experience and contradicting bicultural identities.”
The de la Torre brothers live and work on both sides of the border in the Guadalupe Valley in Baja California, Mexico and San Diego, California. A shared interest in blown glass sparked their partnership and the two have been creating together since the 1990s. Their baroque sensibility incorporates vivid color, layered textures and intricate details. The duo takes an additive approach to their art across genres, often exploring ideas about life and the afterlife and merging cultural symbols in amusing ways to envision potential futures for humankind. The exhibition will include existing and new works representing a multifaceted view of life with a sense of playful irony.
“Much like the de la Torre brothers’ lenticular works, which change depending on one’s viewpoint, we hope this exhibition resonates with the unique perspectives of the San Antonio community,” said Matthew McLendon, director and CEO of the McNay. “The McNay is committed to reflecting local identity and increasing the visibility of diverse artists through our exhibition programming.”
The presentation at the McNay will be organized into four thematic sections. The introductory gallery acquaints visitors with artworks in mediums the brothers are most known for — handblown glass sculptures and lenticular photographs — including several sculptures created especially for the exhibition.
Incorporating furniture, wallpaper, dishware and other functional objects, the next space will surround guests in an immersive domestic setting. The centerpiece of the room will be a fantastical banquet table spanning over 20 feet and featuring vibrant multimedia installations both on and underneath the structure.
Large-scale lenticular photographs dominate the third gallery. The works are seemingly in conflict on opposing walls while a giant floor projection reveals an animated view of Mexico City in real time.
The final gallery experience will be anchored by an installation featuring a lunar lander in the shape of a massive stone Olmec head, merging symbols of the ancient past with ideas of future humanity.
“‘de la Torre Brothers: Upward Mobility’ will be transhistorical, as is much of the de la Torre brothers’ work,” said René Paul Barilleaux, exhibition co-curator and McNay’s head of curatorial affairs. “Einar and Jamex will also incorporate objects from the McNay’s collection into the exhibition, expanding appreciation for the creative intersections of traditional decorative art with Mexican vernacular art and pre-Columbian and ancient American imagery.”
“de la Torre Brothers: Upward Mobility” is organized by the McNay Art Museum and co-curated by René Paul Barilleaux, head of curatorial affairs, and Lauren Thompson, curator of exhibitions, with assistance from Mia Lopez, curator of Latinx art.
The brothers recently completed a separate site-specific installation at the McNay, “de la Torre Brothers: Latin Exoskeleton.” On view through Sept. 15, 2024, the work transformed the AT&T Lobby through a combination of tromps l’oeil wallpaper and lenticular images.
Lead funding for “de la Torre Brothers: Upward Mobility” is most generously provided by the Elizabeth Huth Coates Charitable Foundation of 1992. Major funding is provided by The Brown Foundation; Semmes Foundation, Inc.; Frost Bank and Humanities Texas.
Einar and Jamex de la Torre. “Colonial Atmosphere,” 2002, mixed media installation, 130” x 460” x 450”. Installation view of “Collidoscope: de la Torre Brother Retro-Perspective” at The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture of Riverside Art Museum (June 18, 2022-Jan. 22, 2023). Photo by Philipp Rittermann. Courtesy of the artists & Koplin Del Rio Gallery.
About McNay Art Museum
The McNay Art Museum engages a diverse community in the discovery and enjoyment of the visual arts. Built in the 1920s by artist and educator Marion Koogler McNay, the Spanish Colonial Revival residence became the site of Texas’ first modern art museum when it opened in 1954. Today, 200,000 visitors a year enjoy works by modern masters including Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Edward Hopper, Joan Mitchell, Alice Neel, Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The 25 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds include sculptures by Willie Cole, Robert Indiana, Luis A. Jiménez Jr., Alejandro Martín, George Rickey, Joel Shapiro, Kiki Smith, Tom Wesselmann and others.
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The McNay is open Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday from Noon to 5 p.m.