PAINTINGS & FAITH

My paintings are narrative and autobiographical.


My Ancestors Are Only Those People That I Have Already Been
1981; In recognition of the writings of Albert Castillo

En La Plaza (Damas Equestreanas)
1981; At the Juarez Cathedral (Mark, Diana, Pam & I)

Much of my painting explores my relationship with Catholicism and Christianity.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is central to much of this work. These paintings, and my sense of painting is highly influenced by images of the conquest that hang in the chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in El Paso, Texas. The large paintings depict Spanish monks, flanked by angels, bringing Christianity to the Aztecs. Very graphically, they display the glory of christianity and the horror of human sacrifice. Like much of history, they tell the story from the perspective of the victor. Nothwithstanding, they are such dramatic images that I couldn't help but to be influenced, as I sat in Mass, Sunday morning, after Sunday morning. Here I take the place of Juan Diego carrying the message of Our Lady through the desert.

From the collection of Gilbert Turrieta
"Virgen de La Madrugada" was painted in the mid-80's. The piece reflects the idea that Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Corn Mother are one in the same. Corn stalks surround the transparent Virgen in place of her traditional rays of gold. The story of the apparition has been handed down by indigenous people of the Americas for centuries, spanning many civilizations. The giant agave serves as a symbol of life and healing. The golden cross cast a shadow of Jesus on the cross, bringing together that which I feel inherent in my indigenous past and my Christian, Catholic learning. The painting is approximately four foot square and is painted in acrylic, oils and alkyds.
The notion of living in the image of Christ has always been a primary consideration in my thoughts about the development of one's values. The realization that the embodiment of values is not exclusively an existential exercise has had a great effect on me. "Ayudantes," was painted in 1989 as a tribute to those individuals who sacrificed most for my benefit. Here I sit on my wife's shoulders attempting to drive in the first nail, as other loved ones look on.
This image, "Gaurdian of the Saints," was painted in 1998 for a benefit auction for Texas Folklife Resources. A continuation of the exploration of living in the image of Christ, in this painting, my double image "guardian" sits at the foot of Saint Sebastian, surrounded by Mary, Joseph and Mother Teresa, as Salome dances nearby with the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Two condors hover above touching the tips of their wings as a symbol of love and unity, as two black cats serve as my familiars and stand as an omen to those that would discount the roots of my faith.