Keith Secola, India. (Delphina Ballard). Screen print on book covers, 32” x 40”.

“Postcolonial Revenge” at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Art closes this weekend, and if you have failed to see it, you should correct that mistake.

More than a dozen artists have work in the show curated by artist Gilda Posada and Dara Katrina del Rosario. Silkscreens and woodcuts dominate, but oils, work on fabric and photos on inkjet also appear. All are worthy of your time.

One of the most impressive oils is Chris Marin‘s Lift Me Up Pt 2, a six-by-18-foot sweep through an urban landscape featuring three scenes. The first includes three figures – the first, Jonathan Jackson, holds a gun in one hand and a knife in his other, its blade close to the neck of Judge Harold Haley — a stunning recreation of one of the disturbing images to emerge from the 1970 Marin County Courthouse hostage situation that would leave both of these men dead. Most disconcerting, however, is the third figure in the scene – a young James Baldwin, who appears dazed and ineffably sad as he looks into nothingness.

Chris Marin, Lift Me Up, Pt. 2, oil on canvas.

The second scene shows a street celebration with dancing, which bleeds into the final scene, in which a scuffle ensues in the foreground while, in the background, young men stand in a line, their heads bowed in resignation.

The figures have the quality of a sketch; some filled in, others in outline – all in red, with a softer blue filling in some of the background. The sweep and sketch-like treatment gives the painting a wonderful sense of energy and movement.

Keith Secola‘s screen-print portraits on book covers are equally compelling. The portraits are drawn from the archival albums of his grandparents, Ute Indians from the Uncompahgre band based in Colorado. The portraits are paired with Secola’s wall paintings that reprise earlier reproductions of Native Americans.

The differences are stark. In Secola’s screen prints, the faces are familiar and solid. In the earlier reproductions, Native Americans become exotic and ethereal.

The book covers also challenge representation and refer to history and art. One of Secola’s works India, takes its name from a 1954 book called India, produced by the New York Graphic Society and focused on the Ajanta caves in India and their art and sculptures that date as far back as the Second Century BC.

Other high points include Tosha Stimage’s Why You So Divine, oil on wood, Priscila D. Claure Soruco‘s Raza de Bronze inkjets on metallic paper, and Untitled, a woodcut of two children building a house – one that includes a corner lookout tower, by Joseph Tipay.

Nearby, in a smaller gallery, is an on-going exhibit of work from Mission Gráfica, a reminder of why the printmaking studio, around since 1977, is such a neighborhood treasure.

Tosha Stimage, Why You so Divisive. Acrylic paint on wood.
Priscila D. Claure Soruco, Raza de Bronze: Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, CA. Inkjet print on metallic silver paper.
Joseph Tipay, Untitled. Woodcut print on wood.
From the retrospective of Mission Gráfica work: Artist/Collective: Galeria de la Raza, Border Realities: Galeria de la Raza. Screenprint.

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Founder/Executive Editor. I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. Like many local news outlets, The Tribune no longer exists. I left daily newspapers after working at The New York Times for the business, foreign and city desks. Lucky for all of us, it is still there.

As an old friend once pointed out, local has long been in my bones. My Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on New York City’s experiment in community boards.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how you make that long-held interest in local news sustainable. The answer continues to elude me.

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