Mexican Roots

Masks, Prints, and Traditional Arts of Mexico
From the private collection of Robert Gaston and Elisa Uribe
September 2-30

Emphasizing Mexican masks and Oaxacan relief prints, this exhibit explores the thread of similarities that can be traced through the diversity of traditional Mexican artwork.

The art of Mexico runs like a river through time, recording and connecting its history, people, culture, and religion. Indigenous and traditional themes continue to surface in contemporary artwork of all media, including the masks and prints found in this exhibit. This common bond appears more pronounced than it may be in the more secular, fragmented art histories of other cultures.

Over the last 60 years, the modernization of rural Mexico, through better roads, television, and internet access, appeared to lead to an erosion of traditional mask making and the associated dances – the persistent, cultural problem of “out with the old and in with the new.”

Recently, however, greater cultural awareness and changing attitudes toward indigenous and rural traditions are leading to a resurgence in artistic mask making. While frequently continuing traditional themes, contemporary artists are reaching beyond the mask’s traditional role in creating work both to accompany dances and to appeal to collectors.

Themes of indigenous and traditional life in Mexico are as strong as ever in Mexican printmaking, creating a common bond between these two diverse media.