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Review: Group show by Feral

The Mexico City art collective shows at The Front on St. Claude Avenue



It's been said that history is written by the victors, and art history often seems to have been written to reflect the cultures of Europe and the U.S. Lately, however, Latin American art has received some long overdue recognition, with Mexico City emerging as a regional epicenter. These works by Mexico City's Feral art collective initially may suggest familiar conceptual or minimal art themes, but look a little deeper and they reflect something stranger, as if the looser threads of ordinary reality came unraveled and were whimsically rewoven by a cabal of metaphysical modernists.

Visitors are greeted by a line — a long horizontal tangle of pencil lines collectively drawn on the wall with an invitation to visitors to participate in creating "infinity." Mariana Magdaleno's tie me up installation of ink drawings of eyes on paper ovals connected by a web of string reflects what she calls "the connection power that exists between people when eyes meet each other." Jorge Rosano Gamboa's hanging paper scrolls with solitary lines of ink celebrate the "gravity spirits," while evocative imprints left in carbon black on the wall by the artist's animated body are titled vulture (after a Mexican transformation ritual). Works by Christian Castaneda and Benjamin Sogols include walls covered with oversized replicas of face-down tarot cards that radiate portentous uncertainty — a quality echoed in Castaneda's "interventions," darkly painted graphic forms that confront the visitor like inexplicable shadows or mysterious omens. Things take a spectral turn in Roberto Flores' closet door (pictured) — a video of the artist painting the outlines of a door on a blank wall that is, in turn, projected on to the gallery's side door, suggesting some sort of Home Depot portal to another dimension. It is reassuring to note the speculative approach to time and space found in Latin American fiction is alive and well in the work of the Feral collective.

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