Richard Armendariz
I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas which borders Las Cruces, New Mexico and Juarez, Mexico. There I was saturated by a mix of romanticism for the American landscape and the hybridism of Mexican, American, and indigenous cultures. I am influenced by the mystique of the border region, including mesas, honky-tonks, and big skies reaching as far as the eye can see.

The foundation of my work is rooted in the tradition of landscape painting. I draw inspiration from late 18th and early 19th century painters, some of whom believed the divine could be found in the aesthetic beauty of the allegorical landscape. Sunsets and sunrises within the genre of landscape paintings act as a metaphor for transitions. This idea extends beyond the physical references into psychological and spiritual levels of meaning. Landscape as a subject matter is often seen as inferior in "high art" arenas. But whether or not these images or truisms fit neatly with the viewers aesthetic tastes, they continue to exist in the present and enjoy a long-standing tradition as subject matter in art.

Images that have cultural, biographical and historical lineage are carved into the surface of the painting. Text, in the form of original song lyrics, are carved and/or added to the titles to draw further connection to a Western aesthetic and the tradition of Tejano and country music. The aesthetic combination of Western imagery coupled with contemporary and art historical influences are a foundation for my work.

These materials and images compliment the Southwestern mystique and reaffirm Americans attraction to Western art which is firmly rooted in the border culture of the Southwest. My goal with this body of work is to elevate the perception of landscape-genre painting, and contribute to its long history in art through aligning my work with an established and mainstream American aesthetic.