Poem, Street, Rings
7547 Girard Avenue, La Jolla, CA 92037
September 12 – October 8, 1981
Works on View:
Images and Issues Review
Poem, Street, Rings
Raúl Guerrero at Quint Gallery
Review by Robert McDonald, Spring 1982
“This sort of mixed exhibition is usually dissatisfying, giving the impression that the artist lacks clarity of intention. For all its variety, however, this show revealed the artist’s maturity. Guerrero knows what he wants to do; he selects the forms and materials that are most eloquent for his purposes” – Robert McDonald
Eight works by Raúl Guerrero−silkscreen prints of scratchboard drawings, sculptures, and a book−presented superelegant formal compositions combined with familiar representational content. Madrugada: Nueva York is an image of trash containers in a concrete canyon at dawn. Estudio: Beriln depicts a cluttered corner of a room whose furnishings and scattered objects-a bed, television set, lamp, locker chest, knapsack, shoes-are crisscrossed by a diagonal grid, a pattern superimposed by a multi paned window overhead. Accidente: Monte Alban yields barely enough information to explain the narrative: an image of two startled girls in an automobile is pervaded by a sense of alarm. Tangier is an exotic scene of domes and minarets crossed by sinuous swirls of smoke that a child versed in The Arabian Nights might read as emerging genies but that adults would recognize as something less magical. A block-letter sign explains: Le kif detruit le corps et l’esprit−marijuana destroys the body and the soul. Desayuno [breakfast]: Inglewood is common scene at Winchell’s donuts. The artist’s use of minimal means belies the narrative evocativeness and emotive poetry of these images.
Guerrero’s book, Impressions of Three Cities – Berlin, New York, San Diego, is a handsomely spare, although garishly colored, collection of three brief poems and full-page images that amusingly present the essences of the three cities, respectively, Sturm und Drang, faux chic, and polyester. Of San Diego, Guerrero, who grew up in National City, wrote, “Went to J.C. Penny’s today. Bought / myself a chambray shirt, 65 percent polyester / 35 percent cotton. Going to wash it, put it / on, then to the Westerner, to pick / up a dolly.”
In yet another medium, a sculpture entitled Wood became a metaphor for frustration. What appeared to be a wood plank was really trompe l’oeil painted steel. A hammer and bent nails lay scattered on the base to unfool the eye.
This sort of mixed exhibition is usually dissatisfying, giving the impression that the artist lacks clarity of intention. For all its variety, however, this show revealed the artist’s maturity. Guerrero knows what he wants to do; he selects the forms and materials that are most eloquent for his purposes.