Chicanitas: Small Paintings from the Cheech Marin Collection

Ricardo Ruiz (American, b. 1958), <em>La Envidosa</em>, 2009, acrylic on canvas. On loan from the Cheech Marin Collection.

Ricardo Ruiz (American, b. 1958), La Envidosa, 2009, acrylic on canvas. On loan from the Cheech Marin Collection.

SNITE Museum of Art September 4–November 13, 2011

This exhibition showcased 65 paintings by 26 painters represented in Cheech Marin's noted collection of Chicano art. Marin's most recent passion is collecting small paintings at least 16" square and smaller in size. In contrast to other works in his collection representing and promoting the Chicano art movement of the mid-60's and 70's, the content of many of these small paintings leans more towards the artist's internal or personal statement rather than as a response to political, social, or cultural situations. 

The paintings, which range from photo-realism to abstractions to portraits to landscapes, offer a window into the lives of the artists. Whether showing us a glimpse of their neighborhood as Margaret García does in her expressive paintings of a car wash, hair salon, grocery store and taco shop; or personal interests such as graffiti art, street fashion and underground music that influence the works of Carlos Donjuán; or peppered with mystery and a bit of humor as in Ricardo Ruiz's four portraits based on family members; or making a statement about the double standards imposed on Mexican women as Ana Teresa Fernández does in To Press I and To Press II; or John Valadez's underwater figure studies painted on ceramic tiles, each artist draws on his or her own upbringing, cultural heritage, education and life experiences for inspiration.