June 11-Sep. 27, 2015

MEL CASAS: The Southwestern Cliches, 1982-1989

Texas A&M University San Antonio Educational and Cultural Arts Center,

101 S. Santa Rosa Ave.

San Antonio, TX

 

Casas believed that artists shouldn’t merely imitate subject matter or painterly styles emanating from Europe or New York, so he made a series of witty paintings he called “Southwestern clichés.” In this series, he made the transition from painting with a brush to pouring and dripping paint. Humanscape 118 (Texas Fantasy, 1982) features a trio of mounted longhorns against a backdrop of cattle brands, suggesting that a cattle ranch is the ultimate Texas fantasy. Humanscape 145 (SW Cliché, 1987), nods to Georgia O’Keefe by taking a bleached goat skull as its primary subject. Humanscape 148 (Texas T’ang, 1988) works on multiple levels. The dripped paint and the equine subject matter refer to the glazes that Chinese Tang dynasty artisans applied to ceramic sculptures.  “Tang” is an abbreviation of “mustang” (derived from the Spanish word mesteño), the term for a free-roaming feral horse. The words “Texas T’ang” also refer to distinctive Texas accents. The bright yellow background color was inspired by and refers to orange-flavored Tang, the powdered fruit juice utilized on manned flights into outer space, which rendered it the quintessential Space Age drink. Thus the stream of Casas’ references in a single painting can extend from ancient China to the moon. Humanscape 150 (Star Gazing, 1989) features a field of stars in the screen image, implying that the Southwestern night sky is the ultimate wide screen spectacle. This nocturnal celebration of nature was Casas’ final Humanscape.

 

    by Cordova, Ruben C., Guest Curator, 2015.

IMG_1635
Casas_AM_Install_2
TAMSA-1
Casas_AM_Install_2
Casas_AM_Install_1
IMG_1721
IMG_1719
IMG_1724
IMG_1718
IMG_1717
IMG_1720
Humanscape114
Humanscape116
Humanscape117
Humanscape118
Humanscape119
Humanscape120
Humanscape121
Humanscape122
Humanscape123
Humanscape126
Humanscape127
Humanscape128
Humanscape129
Humanscape130
Humanscape131
Humanscape132
Humanscape133
Humanscape134
Humanscape135
Humanscape136
Humanscape137
Humanscape140
Humanscape143
Humanscape145
Humanscape146
Humanscape147
Humanscape148
Humanscape149
Humanscape150
Humanscape115

© 2013 Mel Casas All Rights Reserved.  NOTICE: All paintings represented on this site are the original work of Mel Casas. The paintings and their images are not to be reproduced, copied, or used for any other purposes without explicit permission..

Humanscape145