Cheech Marin shares his ‘Vision’

As part of the exhibition’s 15-city national tour, “Chicano Visions: American Painters on the Verge,” found its way to the M.H. de Young Museum and enjoys its official public reception in San Francisco.

The brainchild of actor Cheech Marin, “Chicano Visions” stems from CHICANO, the organization he founded to showcase and bolster the visibility of artwork created for and by the Chicano community.

The traveling exhibition, which stands to be the largest of its kind to feature 26 Chicano artists and artwork from across the United States, opens today at the de Young and runs through Oct. 22.

The large majority of the pieces presented in the exhibition hail from Marin’s private collection. Marin was on hand Thursday for a preview of the works hosted at the de Young.

The pieces in the collection range from very traditional to contemporary and offer a comprehensive retrospective of the current Chicano art movement.

“Humanscape 68 [Spanish Kitchen]” is an oil-on-canvas painting by artist Melesio Casas that strikes a fantastic balance between pop art and political commentary. An askew, dominant kitchen sink reigns supreme in the background, while in the foreground a presumably upper-class gringo family, complete with cat and dog, cast disgruntled expressions.

Right in the middle, a Mexican maid, created in a contrasting, childlike style says “Si” to every person depicted on the canvas.

GeorgeYepes, the Los Angeles-based artist who has been revered as one of the Chicano art movement’s seminal voices presents pieces from his series of interpretive works on the Virgin Mary.

Earning the bronze

Also opening today is a group exhibit showcasing Bay Area bronze sculptors hosted by the Varnish Fine Art Gallery.

The show features the bronze works from 22 Bay Area and Southern California artists.

Among the artists presenting are Al Farrow, whose “Daedalus II” is a intricate, graceful, yet bold piece that depicts a winged man in the process of taking flight.

Archie Held presents the stark, yet beautiful “Lorica” a work that highlights the fine delicacy capable in bronze casting, yet powerful and striking nonetheless.

The piece unfolds in the same way as a lithe lily might, curling open, revealing a deep cavernous center that is alluring and sensual.

Also in the show is Peter Schifrin, who has garnered a reputation among his peers for his large-scaled publicly commissioned works including “Coyotes,” located in downtown San Jose; “Wounded Man,” found at the San Mateo Performing Arts Center; and the two 24-foot bronze monuments titled “Skyward” and Confluences” at the intersection of Post and Mason streets in San Francisco, commissioned for the Academy of Art University.

For this exhibition, Schifrin enters “Push Me, Pull You, Love-Love Dog.”

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