A View of Mambo Mountain
On January 22, Caroline Picard of Art21 explored the “world of vibrant color and lush paint” displayed in mambomountain, an exhibition of large-scale oil and acrylic paintings by SAIC faculty member Candida Alvarez (Painting and Drawing) at the Hyde Park Art Center. “Mambo Mountain is an imaginary place, as are these paintings,” Alvarez explains. “I grew up in the projects, I rode the elevators up to the 14th floor, and I loved to look out the windows. That is where my mountain started and it has spread to the mountains that my parents grew up on, and live on to this day in Puerto Rico.” The exhibition includes a “studio archive” that displays the “inner workings” of Alvarez’s creative process, positioned behind two temporary walls in the main space. Although her paintings are nonfigurative, Alvarez says she rejects the changing discourse around abstraction. “I don’t really like the word abstract. It means nothing really, but alludes to some common denominator, which is typically devoid of the body. Well, my work is made up of bodies, which have been mashed up and shredded up into space.” ChicagoArts also featured Alvarez in a video exposing the behind-the-scenes preparation for the exhibition. mambomountain is on view at the Hyde Park Art Center until March 24.