Artist unveils ‘Border to Mars’ exhibition in Brownsville – an examination of how SpaceX changed a community

October 8—If Brownsville had a shared visual language, how would you describe it?

Something where the people who live here would know at a glance, “oh yeah, it’s from here, it’s from here.” So what happens when that visual shortcut turns into something that, like your reflection in a fun mirror, is both familiar and unfamiliar?

For local Brownville painter Gabriel Trevino, this forms the central theme of his new solo exhibition “Border to Mars” currently on display at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art.

Trevino, trained by renowned artist Carlos Gomez at the University of Texas at Brownsville, a legacy institution of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, has spent 20 years documenting life along the US-Mexico border through its own visual and often abstract language.

After his previous series focused on the tortilla maker symbol, Trevino says the roots of this new series came from changes in the community around him when SpaceX moved into the area. The way the community reacted and the differences he saw in the city piqued his interest as an artist in re-examining the familiar. As the city changes, he says, what happens to how we see and understand the culture around us?

“What would Brownsville look like in 10 to 30 years? Maybe the iconography we’re so comfortable with won’t be there,” he said.

Through this large-scale series of 26 paintings, some of which span multiple connected panels, Trevino visually explores what this new future might look like. Of this work, Trevino says it’s something he’s seen other local artists explore over the past few years with the arrival of SpaceX and the prospect of reaching Mars.

“That’s where the title comes from because our perception is shifting from being on the frontier to something more universal and future-oriented that is very unrecognizable to many of us,” he said. .

In her work, the future is a vibrant blend of color through acrylic media, oil pastels and acrylic spray paint that conveys a weather that is neither good nor bad – just beyond understanding the “we ” who looks at him in the present moment.

Trevino says that part of creating the work for the exhibition involved a conscious decision to dismantle the iconography his audience might expect when seeing his work.

Tracks like “Border” best embody this new language. The painting spans several connected 42 x 35 inch panels offering the viewer an array of image fragments, almost like a corrupted digital image file – interrupted and overlaid with vertical bands of color. There is no place the viewer can land, leading to a perpetual search for the familiar that is ultimately futile outside of the viewer’s memory of Trevino’s past work.

“The removal of the culture that we understand and know is now what’s missing in the artwork,” Trevino said of the exhibition’s overall theme.

“Border to Mars” is on display at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art until November 4. There will be an opening reception for the exhibit at noon on Saturday, October 8 at the museum.

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