City Heights’ Teros Gallery To Lend A Hand — And Some Art — To New Tijuana Art Space
La Otra Esquina gallery to open at Telefónica Gastropark with work from Teros artists Carmela Prudencio, Aaron Glasson, Aaron Troyer, Jonny Alexander and local risograph press Burn All Books
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Photo by Julia Dixon Evans
Alejandra Frank pointed out the freshly painted "TEROS" lettering on the large front picture window at Teros Gallery in City Heights. It's a new window, recently replaced after vandalism. With a single Instagram post, shared prolifically throughout the community, the gallery quickly raised enough to replace the window.
The instant support demonstrates the gallery's significance among area artists, particularly — but not limited to — the DIY arts community.
Launched by Frank almost five years ago in a small storefront space nestled on the edge of City Heights and North Park, Teros Gallery is partnering with Luisa Martínez and David Peña — who run the Tijuana Zine Fest — to bring its mission and artists to a new gallery space with co-collaborator Ita Lili of Casa Tamarindo: La Otra Esquina in Telefónica Gastro Park, a popular Tijuana food court.
Teros Gallery's mission is to foster an environment that nurtures creativity in the community. Each month, the gallery seems to transform: new mediums, new artists, new performances, new collaborations. One goal is to create a platform for artists who might not show their work in institutional platforms, but they also aim to keep the space as creative and imaginative as the art they wish to amplify. With a focus on surreal, sci-fi and dreamstate styles, Frank and her collaborators want to elevate imagination.
"It feels really boundless here, whether it's through the art that I create or the messages that we're trying to amplify," said Carmela Prudencio, one of the artists in the exhibition and the head curator of Teros. For her, building a non-competitive and egalitarian, anti-capitalist art scene is a social statement. "I use the arts as a template for a world I want to create."
This exhibition will be the first time Prudencio has shown her art in Tijuana. Her work — unsettling, evocative and surreal — centers around collage, enlarging found images, adding layers or weaving or knitting. "How do I take an object that exists already and resculpt it into something else?" she muses. "Feeling that I'm transforming something that already exists feels rejuvenating."
As far as what they'll gain from working across the border, Frank says that they're approaching it as a curiosity. According to Prudencio, working with the arts community in Tijuana is rife with potential, but she finds a certain value in openness and taking the pressure off. "The results don't matter that much, it's just the act of doing it," Prudencio said. And, she added, the act of sharing work in another country and collaborating across the border is important for individual artist careers as well as for the arts community in the region.
"David and Luisa carry such a huge role in doing cross-border collaborations," Frank said, and added that showing people how easy it can be to cross the border helps to relieve stigmas.
San Diego artists Aaron Glasson, Jonny Alexander and Aaron Troyer will also show work at the Tijuana space. In addition, Teros has been developing an archive book with local risograph printing press, collective and bookstore Burn All Books, which will be on display. The recent resurgence of risograph printing in San Diego — primarily led by Burn All Books — has fostered a sort of regional style for DIY printing and art. It's a noticeable look: layered colors and a grainy, non-archival finish.
"Teros and Burn All Books are strong anchors of the DIY arts community, and dear friends, so it's natural to keep collaborating," said Luisa Martinez. "We think art, and particularly independent art, zines, and communal education are ways for people to grow and become more just and caring, as individuals and as a society," said Martinez, who seeks "horizontal," intentional and respectful collaborations between San Diego and Tijuana artists. "The border is a taxing place, but when we collaborate, we can re-imagine ourselves despite the border."
The exhibition kicks off with an opening reception on Saturday from 5-9 p.m. and runs through March 8. Prudencio will teach a collage workshop in the La Otra Esquina space in Tijuana on Feb. 29.
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