Playground by Francisco Donoso presented by Domingo Comms
For Artist, Francisco Donoso, the chain-link fence acts as more than just an artistic motif; it embodies parts of his childhood that were muted, detained and taken as a result of migration and dislocation. Through his gestural and often meditative practice, Francisco is able to not only process his own experiences as an undocumented person in the US, but also allows for a rebirth and retelling of migration narratives in which barriers are overcome.
Thursday 29 April, 2021
The Affordable Art Fair NYC will make its debut on opening night back at the Metropolitan Pavilion (May 20 – 23, 2021) with the exciting unveiling of a special site activation titled, Playgroundin collaboration with Domingo Comms and the fabulous transnational, Bronx-based Artist, Francisco Donoso.
Playground is a collection of new works that Francisco has created just in time for our Spring edition of the NYC fair that celebrates our collective potential for moving beyond limitations as it proposes alternative realities by subverting symbols of power and domination, specifically in regard to immigration. An incredible mural installation titled Homegrown will live at the heart of the exhibition, consisting of 7 mylar panels installed together and measuring up to 10 feet tall and 20 feet wide. In addition, there will be various works on paper and on canvas, ranging in size and price, which will be available for purchase through Domingo Comms.
Throughout his creation of mixed-media paintings and in this installation in particular, Francisco explores themes of movement, place and belonging, using the “playground” as an allegory to represent the polarizing feelings of curiosity and nostalgia, as well as a site of surveillance and trauma. Francisco explains that:
“The playground as a site for belonging, for expression, for that inner child to exist, to play, to be curious, to feel, a site of possibility, to question, to experiment, to be, to learn, to explore. The playground is a form of altermundo. The playground is also a site of surveillance, witness, and paranoia where children are watched by their parents and guardians, surveilled, kept, and sometimes an ominous site of imaginary loss and violence. To be in a playground evokes memories of childhood, which are mixed memories of happiness, innocence and play, but also traumas, loss and isolation.” Francisco Donoso
The chain-link fence is ever-present in Francisco’s body of work having taken on new meaning as a consequence of the current and ongoing deluge of photographs of detention centers and people in cages – “What was once a quotidian marker of urban life now sends chills down my spine.” Acting as a seemingly transparent barrier, it allows for the violence and pain inflicted on children and families caught behind the fence of immigration detention centers to be kept in and obscured.
The image of the fence is burned into Francisco’s psyche as representative of borders that keep families apart, borders that keep him trapped in the US, and borders that threaten the sustainability of life for immigrants at large. It is the delicate and nuanced line between the psyche of the immigrant and the immigrant experience that reveals itself throughout the artist’s work and becomes a contemporary transformation of an often misunderstood and falsely framed narrative.
In Playground, the use of the mundane and repressive chain-link fence becomes a colorful and dynamic organism imbued with life and feeling. Francisco’s intricate patterns are created through the use of hand drawn and repurposed stencils from previous works and various projects around his studio. Acting as a ghost image, this tracing and cutting simultaneously obscure and reveal the multilayered and abstracted end product that moves in and out of legibility giving the viewer the illusion of floating in a body of water. Francisco’s technique ultimately showcases a balancing act between exposing and cauterizing. By creating playful and seductive abstract works saturated with color, movement and form, it’s not until you’re up close to the large-scale piece that you realize you’re looking at an overall chain-link fence pattern and confronted with the heaviness that it represents.
It is truly the precariousness of existence and belonging that tips the scales toward injustice and systemic oppression. By reshaping the fence and reassigning its function, Francisco allows for new possible realities to form in the imagination. Playground generously offers the viewer a feast for the senses, stimulating the imagination while allowing for a space to have the freedom to grow, play and be acknowledged.
Be sure to get your timed tickets here before any time slots sell out and join us this May 20 – 23, 2021 at the Metropolitan Pavilion. Be the first to take in Francisco Donoso’s installation and exhibition presented by Domingo Comms and follow us on social (@affordableartfairnyc) to get a sneak-peak of the making of Playground next week!
Francisco Donoso (@DonosoStudio) is a transnational artist born in Quito, Ecuador who migrated to Miami, FL at the age of five. He currently resides in New York City and has a Bronx-based studio practice. He is a recipient of DACA and a fierce advocate for immigrants. After attending New World School of the Arts, he received his BFA in Painting & Drawing from Purchase College in 2011. He will be exhibiting at FLXST Gallery in Chicago as part of “Entre Mundos” curated by John Guevara of Chuquimarca, in June 2021. He is the founder and owner of the online shop and brand, Donoso Studio, an immigrant-powered shop for archival prints, merch and unique art objects.
Domingo Comms (@DomingoComms) was launched by Veronica Petty in 2020 to help others rediscover their love of home through meaningful and affordable art and interior design. Soon after launching, Domingo Comms quickly became a space for emerging and established Latinx and Latin American artists to promote their work through Domingo Featured Artists. Veronica wanted to share her love of Latin American and Latinx artists across a variety of platforms, with themes ranging from feminism, belonging, consumption, body politics, identity, to architecture, nature and more.
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