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Papel Picado: The Paper Cut-Outs of Carmen Lomas-Garza
9/18/1999 - 11/7/1999
Papel Picado: The Paper Cut-Outs of Carmen Lomas-Garza was this South Texas-born Chicana's first public presentation of large-scale paper cut-outs.
  Galería Exhibitions Open Studio: Little Brown Bodies <1999>
Mi Vida Loca/Mi Arte Loco: An Exhibition of Pinto Art <1999>
Papel Picado: The Paper Cut-Outs of Carmen Lomas-Garza <1999>
Bomba! Latino Erotica <1999>
DIGITAL MURAL PROJECT By John Leaños & SFSA students <1999>
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Papel Picado: the Paper Cutouts of Carmen Lomas-Garza

Carmen Lomas Garza keeps notions of community and family at the center of her art. Her animated imagery describes the cultural traditions of Tejanos (Texan-Mexicans) based on her childhood memories and experiences in South Texas. As a response to the discrimination and racism against Chicanos that she witnessed in her early years, Carmen Lomas Garza decided very soon in her career that she would dedicate her art to validating the personal domain of Mexican American life.

Carmen Lomas Garza's cutouts, or papel picado, are inspired by the banderitas [little banners], a centuries-old Mexican tradition in which paper is sculpted through excision. Her representations range from familial scenes to flora and fauna often inspired by pre-Columbian legends. Tzintzuntzan (1998) is an example of the fusion of mythological symbols with contemporary imagery common to many of her works. The barbed-wire, nopal thorns, and prickly palm tree leaves instill an atmosphere of tension relieved only partially by the spiritual grace of two humming birds inspired by Aztec myths. The latent tension in her images are reinforced by the bold contrast of her paper cutouts. These works convey direct and simple narratives as in her paintings, yet the sharp simplicity of the positive and negative also plays with concealed imagery and hidden meanings.

In many ways, this exhibition is a homecoming for Carmen Lomas Garza. She has been a key figure in Galería's history since the 1970s, curating exhibitions and presenting her work in some of this organization's earliest shows. She has continued, however, to play a key role in Galería's activities as a mentor for young artists. From her beginnings at Galería, she has proceeded to build an international reputation for herself, as an artist, educator, and curator.

This exhibition sets forth Galería's 30th anniversary. As a representative of the artists of el movimiento who founded Galería and made it the legendary institution it is, the Board and staff of Galería welcome her back.