September 9, 2022 - January 15, 2023

Reen Barrera

Children of Divorce

Taking place at:
Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum
Mesa, Arizona

Opening Reception with the Artist(s): Friday, September 9, 2022 6:00-10:00pm

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The Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum and Thinkspace Projects are proud to present:

Children of DivorceOn view September 9, 2022 to January 29, 2023 in the Project RoomOpening Reception: Friday, September 9 from 6-10pm

Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum
One East Main Street
Mesa, Arizona 85211

There is an idiom that says “it’s written all over your face,” which gave me an idea that regardless of what we say, our true feelings can still be emancipated by our facial expressions. For me, it’s a silent way of communicating something without noise. It’s where I find the inspiration to literally remember those facial expressions and create artwork out of it. This mix of facial expressions with different symbols and patterns have led to the development of characters known as “ohlala” dolls.

We humans have the same mold. We all have the same attributes. What differentiates us is the circumstances that we were born into. And one thing that I want to emphasize is the amount of detail each ohlala artwork has. Like humans, some have little while some have more.

In many of my works, I discreetly take on socio-economic classes. Some people are born rich, some are born middle class, some are born poor. But the common ground for everyone is, we all have to deal with it.

I cover all the ohlala dolls heads with canvas cloth to give a freedom to paint their own symbols on their heads; as if they are designing their own fate. I guess that’s what we all have in common; the power to make things happen for ourselves.

Acrylic, oil, and aerosol paint are my choice of medium in painting. Many times, I let accidents like drips, smudges and splatter help me to decipher what to do next. I start with very loose abstract figures to overcome the fear of an empty canvas staring at me.

In this collection of work, I try to become as personal as possible, using ohlala as my main character to depict some of my experiences that led me to where I am right now as an artist.

About the Artist:
Born in Paris, France, Filipino artist Reen Barrera didn’t have a lot of toys during his childhood in the 90s. He vaguely remembers owning two or three action figures but considers himself a “toy deprived” kid. Out of sheer boredom, he started repurposing materials, like wood and fabric, into mixed media figuartive sculputures and paintings.

Barrera studied fine arts and majored in advertising in college. Before becoming a full-time working artist in 2014, his professional work consisted of sculpting bobble-head portraits, graphic design and illustration. He has shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions all over the world. He currently lives in the Philippines.