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Arts & Culture

Panca: 'Ni De Aquí, Ni De Allá'

Panca (Paola Villaseñor) will show new work this weekend at Bread & Salt.
Panca
Panca (Paola Villaseñor) will show new work this weekend at Bread & Salt.

Panca's 'I Am the Architect of My Own Misfortune' is a building-wide solo exhibition opening Saturday at Bread & Salt

This weekend, binational artist Paola Villaseñor, known to most of us as Panca, unveils new work at Barrio Logan's Bread & Salt gallery, home of her striking 2017 ice cream cone exterior mural that's become a recognizable part of San Diego's skyline.

The new exhibition, "I am the Architect of My Own Misfortune," is building-wide at the Bread & Salt campus and includes large-scale works, neon light installations, animations, massive canvases and what Panca refers to as "found photo interventions."

"It's a lot about duality," Panca said of the show. It's about taking responsibility for the good and the bad things that happen to you, but it's also about control. She points to the space between having control over individual fortunes (or misfortunes) and the things that are out of our control, physical, tangible things — like the border. "A person, being binational, ni de aquí, ni de allá," she added. Neither here nor there.

A work-in-progress photo of new work on display at Bread & Salt.
Panca
A work-in-progress photo of new work on display at Bread & Salt.

Raised in Chula Vista, Panca has lived in Tijuana since she was a teenager. Her Tijuana home is where she generally works, but for this exhibition, almost all of the works were created in a studio on-site at Bread & Salt. It changed the way she worked, providing its own set of challenges but lifted her from the redundancies of working from home. "The work in this show is very raw and present," she said. "I had a chance to pass over whatever I felt from leaving my bed to walking into the studio."

The newness of the work — and ambitious scope of filling the massive space — still feels uniquely Panca, rooted in street art, and her characteristic faceless eyes and mouths almost obsessively bring life (and maybe a form of fortune) to unexpected things.

Preparation of work for "I Am the Architect of My Own Misfortune" at Bread & Salt.
Panca
Preparation of work for "I Am the Architect of My Own Misfortune" at Bread & Salt.

Panca is also the new artist-in-residence at the New Children's Museum, where her work is already prominently on display in the "SMILE" mural.

"I am The Architect of My Own Misfortune" opens Saturday at Bread & Salt with a reception and live music from 6-9 p.m. The event coincides with Saturday evening's Barrio Art Crawl.