By Colin Noden
Today’s Mexico may surprise you. Take a break from those neurotic newsfeeds and come see an expression of contemporary Mexico. Dulce Tapp has packed a lot of meaning into her 20-piece exhibit at the Shenkman Arts Centre. I think you’ll come away feeling uplifted.
Ambassador of Mexico to Canada Mr. Dionisio Pérez Jácome spoke at the opening of the exhibition. He emphasized the importance of people in Canada and Mexico getting to know each other in a deeper way. This is one of the roles of an artist and Ms. Tapp has joined this cultural initiative with a massive subject. Mexico City.
My City, My View is an invitation to explore the streets of Mexico City.
The exhibition begins and ends with shoes. At the beginning is The Elegant Find, a piece invoking your shopping instincts. And at the end, you reach Catch Me If You Can which embodies the energy and youthfulness built up through your viewing experience.
The journey between the two is a combination of introspection and exuberance. Cultural icons, modern and traditional, are deconstructed and redefined. What does a cross signify? A wrestler’s mask? Love, honour, dedication, purpose, perspective and above all, self-confidence and joy are all examined and expressed during your stroll.
A positive evolution in culture is being expressed by the young.
The word ‘revolution’ is used a lot in Mexico. I’ve been to areas where it is spoken of in very recent terms. But in this exhibition, Dulce Tapp is telling us to pay attention to the here-and-now in her city. There is a positive ‘evolution’ of culture and values going on. Her art pieces express this using layers and geometric patterns.
We cannot deny the past, cover it up, and move on. Time and life will eventually expose everything. It is better to honour and use that past as a foundation and inspiration. In one painting, I could count 5 layers of base paint which were exposed through sanding to resemble the aged walls you may walk along as you explore Mexico City. Dulce told me she was encouraged by the graffiti that is now being added to those walls. It is creative. An expression of pride and confidence is taking over the city. “Life is becoming art.”
Structure is always at play in the whole exhibit.
I’ll let you work on what the geometric patterns mean to you. Dulce tossed my reference to them right back at me. So, I’m going to do the same. There must be some fun in a viewing! Is it the architect or artist’s need for order and structure while painting exuberance? Is it a comment on this evolutionary energy and the freedom of space it finds itself in? Is it a sarcastic comment on our need to make sense of anything patterned or digital? Or does it represent the very streets Dulce is encouraging us to explore?
Are we really being encouraged to book a flight to Mexico City and wander around?
My City, My View may open our eyes to a new perspective of Mexico, but there is nothing better than having your shoes on the street. Now, I confess. I’m intimidated by Mexico City. It’s so big. And when I asked Dulce for her recommendations of places to visit to experience the positive spirit of her art, she refused to tell me.
“Sure, I could tell you to go to places like the Zocalo, but then it would be me influencing your experience. It wouldn’t be authentic. Just go to a spot and explore.”
Wise words to end this review. Go explore My City, My View. Be open and see what impressions jump from your memory as you talk with others about Mexico.
My City, My View is on display at the Shenkman Arts Centre (245 Centrum Boulevard) in the Lalande + Doyle Exhibition Space. The exhibition is open 9 am to 10 pm, 7 days a week, until September 24. For morefrom the artist, visit www.thesecretofthethrone.com