Examining the multiple personae immigrants take on, Mexican-born artist Salvador Jimènez-Flores crafts ceramic works from a mold he took of his own face. In the striking video “Camaléon,” in his show at Urbano Project, one morphs into the next.
The faces, which also hang on the wall, are monstrous, angelic and daunting, laced with references to myth and popular culture. The artist uses different clays, glazes, and firing techniques to add to the diversity. “Picante pero sabroso” refers to a green hot pepper, spicy but tasty; a streak of emerald green runs across the figure’s chest. The terra cotta “Flying Bandit,” with a mask and a florid mustache, deploys an old stereotype.
These soulful pieces outshine the artist’s more political art, which is less layered, such as “¡Libertad ahora! Free Oscar López Rivera,” an exhortation to release the Puerto Rican nationalist from federal prison. He’s been there for more than 30 years on charges that include seditious conspiracy; some consider him a political prisoner. The screenprint calls attention to López Rivera, but it raises no questions and offers no insight.