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Oscar Magallanes



MFA 2021

Oscar's work, which includes painting, mobiles, sculpture, and video, is influenced by the social and environmental issues of his upbringing in a Mexican-American barrio east of downtown Los Angeles. Conceptually the work is based on identity and the praxis of the oppressed, finding what José Rabasa calls an “elsewhere” rather than allowing for an identity that is based on the “othering” of cultural and historical signifiers. He finds this approach an important basis as it allows the work to exist as an entity that is made not in reaction to western culture, but rather as autobiographical, telling of a parallel experience.

While set against the current theater of politics in which xenophobia has replaced the “good neighbor,” Oscar's recent works, in their symbolism and structure, are intended to confront the fear of the “other.” They examine the parallel existence of those affected by an institutional racism that disallows their full participation in western society while simultaneously questioning what constitutes an “American” through the interrogation of cultural and coded iconography and visual rhetoric.

His work has been exhibited at the North Carolina Museum of Art, Museo CEART de Baja California Mexicali, Mexico, the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, Illinois, the McNay Museum in San Antonio, Texas, Las Cruces Museum of Art, Las Cruces, New Mexico, the Vincent Price Art Museum, Monterey Park, California, La Plaza de Cultura y Arte Museum, Los Angeles, California, and the Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, California. His work is part of the permanent collections of the Museum of Latin American Art, National Museum of Mexican Art, La Salle University Art Museum and the McNay Museum. In 2014, he participated in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellowship Academy. Other professional activities include serving as a board member for the arts education organizations Ryman Arts and Self Help Graphics and Art as well as a Young Professional Board member for Inner-City Arts.