Claudio Dicochea


Propaganda
, 1996
Acrylic on canvas, 40" x 52"

This painting is very much about process: sheathing, submersion, transparency, and replacement. In it, I apply thin glazes amid harsh linear strokes, brush and scrub off patches, allow for fluid to drip and pool and for buried images to emerge as underpainting. There is a collage aspect to the work; space is fragmented with no fidelity towards "realism." Unstretched, the painting is attached directly to walls, which, like posters, conveys an urgent, mass-produced, and non-academic genesis. I believe the aesthetic impact of this image to originate from its violent coloring and rendering as much as from its brut composition; there is a centralized figure syncretizing animal qualities with human sentimentality and self-destruction. At the outset, a horned figure blinded as to his condition, like a sacred cow or a bull for the match spectacle, while he is being fed satellite messages into his aura, single-breasted, holding his radiant cut-out heart while a needle dangles off his right bicep. This is the permanent condition of the modern man. Not torn between his two natures, but oscillating between the extremes of a doomed reconcile. Inspired by the condition of the modern artist emerging from dualistic cultures, this displays the tension of his hybrid heritage. A propaganda banner showcasing the orgiastic relationship between my equally promiscuous parts—male and female, abstract and gestural, Mexican and American, intellect and instinct, artisan and artist. If propaganda can be understood as perpetrating lies, then it must also be understood as resonating some collectively held truth.



Asherah
, 1997
Acrylic on canvas, 35" x 65"

Compositionally, this piece accomplishes a violation of space within the canvas and a sense of prohibition in certain elements. The aesthetic impact lies in the pigment being applied with three different aspects in mind: there is soft brush rendering coexisting with caricature and harsh, bright linear forms drawn right out of the paint tube. Asherah was very personal in that it embodied the act of replacing gods and their sexual makeup. The Christian god, Yahweh, originally Hebrew, was formerly composed of both female and male counterparts; Asherah and Yahweh, bride and groom, the ancient copulation. As the Hebrew shifted from nomadic to an agricultural-based society, within a period stricken with internal war lasting between 5 -600 years, the female half of the god was killed off, leaving the present version of such deity. The history and culture of Mexico has been composed of a violent layering of different religions, peoples, economics, and politics. In an unnatural but fruitful evolution, new forms are constantly superimposing themselves on this platform, leaving spaces of rupture and of continuance. The wrist-bound male figure enters the piece, surrounded by thorns shooting out and thick, red stained, floating underwear outlined by barbed wire is the lone masculine exorcised of the feminine, nonetheless, still, embodying homosexual tension. Moreover, I intended the piece to get across that homosexuality is not effeminate behavior, it is bathed in male self-glorification and self-adoration and, unfortunately, under traditional cultural norms, in shame.