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Work Samples

Gran Fury, installation view

Installation view of Gran Fury at Montpelier Art Center in Laurel, MD, 2019

The Time Has Come…, 2017

The Time Has Come…, 2017, digital animation, 3 minutes

Dropping Like Flies, 2018

Dropping Like Flies, 2018 is an installation created for the Old Jail Art Center in Albany, TX. The piece is comprised of 5 acrylic paintings of the Mayan death god on metallic leather surrounded by over 1000 hand gold-leafed and rhinestoned flies. At the base of the installation are 6 ceramic skulls that are wearing heart-shaped sunglasses and wreaths of bridal/quincinera flowers.

Circumference Series, Part 1, 2019

Circumference Series, Part 1, 2019, acrylic and rhinestones on Mylar, fifteen works at 18 x 18 inches each

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About René

Baltimore City

René Treviño's picture
René Treviño is a gay Mexican-American artist born in Kingsville, Texas.  He received his BFA in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in 2003 and his MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in 2005. He has exhibited at the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford, CT; the Baltimore Museum of Art, Goliath Visual Space in Brooklyn, NY; White Box in New York, NY; the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art in Wilmington, DE; the Arlington Arts Center in Arlington, VA; and Pentimenti... more

Walls of the Yucatán

Nationally, we have been having a lot of conversations about walls and borders. Who has access? Who gets to permeate these barriers? I made these paintings from a series of photographs I took while traveling to ancient Mayan sites throughout the Yucatán Peninsula. I was drawn to these walls from Chichen Itza, Coba and Tulum and to these handmade bricks and stones. In Mayan times these would have been covered over with Stucco. Because these sites are now ruins, the stucco has eroded away and reveals these amazing, very human surfaces. I love imagining the hands that made them and the way they might have looked at the height of the Mayan Empire.

These are meticulously hand painted with acrylic paint on Mylar, and cover the entire surface of the 48 x 36 inch picture plane.

Gran Fury

My parents bought me a well-used 1987 Plymouth Gran Fury as a gift when I graduated from the School of Visual Art in 2003. They drove it from Lake Jackson, TX to Brooklyn to help me move. Then we drove it from New York to Baltimore. It was a boat of a car, 8 cylinders, lots of power; it was all red, including the interior. I drove it for almost 7 years. That car was a spectacle, it was loud, the gas mileage was terrible, but it gave me freedom and it never let me down. I recently found the chrome name plate I pried off the car before I donated it and I decided it would make a great painting...

A lot of police cruisers were Gran Fury's in the 1980's. The name of the car came from Greek mythology: the Furies, goddesses of vengeance. An art/activist collective also known as Gran Fury used a combination of bold graphic design, guerrilla dissemination tactics, and art institutional support to communicate the urgency of the AIDS epidemic in light of disastrous government and political inaction. They are probably best known for the SILENCE = DEATH graphic that came to define the AIDS/HIV activist movement in the 1980s and early 1990s.

This body of work was installed at the Monpelier Art Center in Laurel, MD in 2019 and combines paintings of Oreo cookies, the Gran Fury logo, star charts, Mayan walls and condoms.

Reclaiming the Constellations

This work plays on the subjectivity of the past, which is seen through the lens of those with the power to write it. Who gets to name the constellations? Why do they have names like Cassiopeia, Andromeda, Perseus, etc. when they had been named previously by other cultures? In renaming the constellations, I strip them of their Greek/Western mythos. The high key color or rainbow also brings to mind a variety of meanings—the calm after a storm, a celebration of bounty and variety, and most importantly, a symbol of pride for the LGTB community. As we become aware of our insignifigance in the universe, we can remember that the stars and constellations had names before the ones we know and remember and will have different names long after we are gone.

Dropping Like Flies

Dropping Like Flies, 2018 is an installation created for the Old Jail Art Center in Albany, TX. The piece is comprised of 5 acrylic paintings of the Mayan death god on metallic leather surrounded by over 1000 hand gold-leafed and rhinestoned flies. At the base of the installation are 6 ceramic skulls that are wearing heart-shaped sunglasses and wreaths of bridal/quincinera flowers.

  • Dropping like Flies, 2018

    Painted representations of the Mayan Death God on metallic leather with rhinestones and sequins; plastic flies with gold leaf and rhinestones; ceramic gold skulls with artificial flowers, sunglasses, sequins and rhinestones, dimensions variable. Installation view of project installed at the Old Jail Art Center in Albany, TX in 2018.
  • Dropping Like Flies, 2018

    Installation view of Dropping Like Flies, 2018 installed at the Old Jail Art Center in Albany, TX.
  • Dropping Like Flies, 2018

    Detail view of Dropping Like Flies, 2018.
  • Dropping Like Flies, 2018

    Each of the 1000+ flies were individually gold-leafed and rhinestoned.
  • Dropping Like Flies, 2018

    Hand-painted representation of the Mayan death god. Acrylic, rhinetones, and sequins on metallic leather.
  • Dropping Like Flies, 2018

    Hand-painted representation of the Mayan death god. Acrylic, rhinetones, and sequins on metallic leather.
  • Dropping Like Flies, 2018

    Hand-painted representation of the Mayan death god. Acrylic, rhinetones, and sequins on metallic leather.
  • Dropping Like Flies, 2018

    Detail of a gold ceramic skull wearing rhinestone sunglasses and wreaths of bridal/quincinera flowers.
  • Dropping Like Flies, 2018

    Detail of a gold ceramic skull wearing rhinestone sunglasses and wreaths of bridal/quincinera flowers.
  • Dropping Like Flies, 2018

    Detail of a gold ceramic skull wearing rhinestone sunglasses and wreaths of bridal/quincinera flowers.

CODEX

CODEX is an ongoing series of paintings that reference Mayan and other Mesoamerican art objects (ceramics, bas relief sculptures, codices, etc.) filtered through a contemporary queer aesthetic. As a community we are having a discussion about the importance of representation in contemporary art. In these paintings I insert queer narratives and ideas into these historical images.

CODEX

CODEX is an ongoing series of paintings that reference Mayan and other Mesoamerican art objects (ceramics, bas relief sculptures, codices, etc.) filtered through a contemporary queer aesthetic. As a community we are having a discussion about the importance of representation in contemporary art. In these paintings I insert queer narratives and ideas into historical images.

Onward

Through my research, I have learned that some ancient Mexican codices were drawn and written on animal skins. Inspired by this, I am creating a series of paintings on metallic hides. Painting on the animal skins recalls the act of making the original codices; I use bright metallic gold, silver and bronze skins to represent the natural treasures and artifacts that were stolen from the indigenous people during the Spanish conquest.

Additionally I am making short animations. The goal with the animations is to make the paintings move and to give them a new kind of context, but also to give the work a life outside traditional gallery spaces.

Renaming the Constellations

This work plays on the subjectivity of the past, which is seen through the lens of those with the power to write it. Who gets to name the constellations? Why do they have names like Cassiopeia, Andromeda, Perseus, etc. when they had been named previously by other cultures? In renaming the constellations, I strip them of their Greek/Western mythos. The high key color or rainbow also brings to mind a variety of meanings—the calm after a storm, a celebration of bounty and variety, and most importantly, a symbol of pride for the LGTB community.

Axial Precessions

The Axial Precession works are a new series of paintings of round forms, including celestial bodies, cultural and art historical objects and patterns, star charts and astrological maps. There is something reassuring and meditative in these repeated mandala forms. The viewer is simultaneously very small in relation to space and the cosmos and omniscient.

Saguaro Warriors

A series of life-sized graphite on paper drawings that represent my idea of a hypothetical army that could come together to solve the world's problems.

Connect with René

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René's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.