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Press Release

In conjunction with Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present its sixth annual performance series with new work by Arturo Molinar Avitia and Marlene Tafoya on Saturday, October 28, 4-6pm.

Arturo Molinar Avitia’s performance Imposter will continue his investigation into the constructs of his own identity. In …or a fabulous drag queen presented at California Institute of the Arts in 2013, Molinar Avitia considers an alternate present in which he does not immigrate to the United States and instead remains in Mexico to aid in the family business of apple farming; in another alternate present he breaks with the conservative traditions of his upbringing and becomes “a fabulous drag queen.” In Imposter, Molinar Avitia contends with his recently acquired US Citizenship, the futility of casting his first vote in a presidential election, and bearing witness to the lives of undocumented workers in his community. Molinar Avitia’s performance will include traditional Mexican dance hall music and readymade sculptures of reflective bicycle lights; a disorienting environment meant to reference the liminal physical and psychological spaces occupied by Mexican immigrants and the fetishization and appropriation of their culture by the artist.

Arturo Molinar Avitia was born in Bachiniva in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico in 1977 and lives in Los Angeles. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Texas at El Paso in 2011 and a Master of Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts in 2013. Honor Fraser Gallery presented a performance by Molinar Avitia in 2015 for Is It All Over My Face?, the gallery’s fourth annual performance series. His performances and installations have been included in thematic exhibitions such as Town Hall, curated by Liz Toonkel, ltd los angeles, Los Angeles, CA (2017); Look, See, Listen, Hear, Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX (2015); Show and Tell, Da Vinci Gallery, Los Angeles County College, Los Angeles, CA (2015); Skeptics and Slackers Presents the Bucket, Grice Bench, Los Angeles, CA (2015); and Subject Matters: CalArts MFA 2013 Graduate Exhibition, Mandarin Plaza, Los Angeles, CA (2013).

Marlene Tafoya presents Aim high Aim low, an interactive installation inspired by a hybridization of Aztec, Catholic, and Native American rituals that make up her cultural background. The centerpiece of her performance will be a piñata in the shape of a seven-point star. During the Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire, Catholic priests used seven-point star piñatas to indoctrinate the Aztecs in the seven deadly sins and to provide a metaphor for the heavenly rewards that await those who resist sinful behavior. This tactic and others like it were used to colonize the Aztec people and replace indigenous ceremonial rituals. The piñata was a particularly effective tool as the Aztecs engaged in a similar activity to celebrate the birthday of Huitzlopochtli, the god of the sun and war. The Aztec ritual featured a clay pot filled with feathers, suspended above a statue representing Huitzlopochtli. When the clay pot was broken, after several attempts by blindfolded participants, the feathers would fall to the feet of the god like so many fallen warriors. Tafoya’s piñata will be filled with sage bundles that she and friends have gathered in the tradition of Native Americans; offering tobacco in exchange. For Tafoya, the breaking of this sage-filled piñata is an act of protest against the colonization and cultural erasure of her ancestors.

Marlene Tafoya was born in Los Angeles in 1991 and lives in Los Angeles. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art from California State University, Long Beach, CA in 2015. She has recently performed at New Wight Gallery, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA (2016) and presented a solo exhibition at Dennis W. Dutzi Gallery, California State University, Long Beach, CA (2015). Her work has been included in thematic exhibitions such as Borders, Art Share LA Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2017); Tijuana Zine Fest, Tijuana, Mexico (2017); Ponderosas Para Simper, Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA (2016); Taste Makers & Earthshakers, Vincent Price Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2016); Chicos Pero Locos, Mini Art Museum x Slanguage, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, NM (2016); Former, LAXART, Los Angeles, CA (2015); and Inconspicuous, TAFA Gallery, Tianjin, China (2013).