Al San Valentin is honored to have new work created and displayed at Space 1026. bruja! BRUJA. examines the dualistic nature of opposites. Influenced on personal and artistic levels by the writings of Pema Chödron and Alan Watts, they became interested in the concept of opposites as balanced equals. The result is a collection of work that applies this concept to personal history as it defines one’s identity, San Valentin started from their own racial and gender identities yet constructed work that should not be read as autobiographical. Rather, the images can be applied to others’ personal lives as well as our collective experience in this existence.
The works themselves experienced duality in the creation process. The structured nature of screen printed pattern is broken down by a call-and-response kind of mark-making as opposed to calculated moves. Blocks of flat color meld and contrast with defined line drawings. Mass is given to small images through repetition. These screen printed fabric pieces co-exist with black ink illustrations on white paper.
San Valentin sees these works as the beginning, just barely reconciling the systems in our lives that contain two opposite yet equal parts. To recognize the opposites in oneself and accept the need for both parts in order for either to exist. To summon the ghosts of one’s past- the faults and successes, the joys and sorrows- and work with them, allowing oneself to be softened by the ache of their presence.
Al San Valentin lives and works in Philadelphia. They work at a local arts-based preschool, where the uninhibited matter in which children create art is a major influence on their work. San Valentin constantly seeks to return to that moment in life where the path between the image in the mind and the pencil in the hand is gloriously unbroken.