Current Exhibition
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CAMINOS AND PASSAGES

Raoul De la Sota
Artist, Educator and Collector

October 8-November 1, 2018

Reception:Thursday, October 11, 7-9 p.m.

Gallery talk: Tuesday, October 16, at 1 p.m.

El Camino College Art Gallery is proud to present a broad range of the vibrant artwork and a small sampling of the collections of Raoul De la Sota.  De la Sota is one of Los Angeles’ most important contributors to the recognition of Latino American artwork, simultaneously through his own prodigious artistic career and through his generous teaching and curating throughout the past six decades in this city.

Born in Los Angeles into a bilingual family with English as his second language, the artist was raised and educated, in part, by his grandmother whose roots were in the Tarahumara culture of Chihuahua, Mexico.  She enriched his early life with primeval tales from the culture of her own childhood, giving De la Sota a life-long love of indigenous traditions and respect for their mythological/mystical approach to the natural world.

Among the series or passages presented in this exhibition are acrylic paintings of intense cosmological images in which native spirits fly over dark mountain ranges, depicting the origins of life according to the ancients.  These works, as well as others in the exhibit, are accompanied by folk art objects from the collection of Raoul and his wife, Leticia De la Sota, which reflect the intimate link in sensibility between that which the artist creates and that which he admires and collects.

As a child, De la Sota suffered from asthma which led not only to an early life of home-schooling but also to healing trips to the Sonoran Desert and the Sierras of California.  This atmosphere proved to be not only physically restorative but deeply resonant with the artist’s psyche, fueling the impetus for artwork throughout his life.

Caminos and Passages presents a fascinating range of the artist’s landscapes and studies, from 1965-2018, done in a wide variety of media including acrylic and oil painting, pen and ink drawing, water color, fabric collage, printmaking, wood and metal sculpture, assemblage and mixed media construction. Many of these works are influenced by De la Sota’s travels that have taken him to the far corners of the world. While occasionally figurative De la Sota, always fascinated by earth and sky, returns to his original source. 

His boldly expressive Cacti series of paintings utilize the agave plant as a metaphor for the vital beauty and strength of the people of Mexico, while his poly-chrome, three-dimensional wooden nopal cactus pieces often depict struggle in socio/political arenas.

In addition to folk art objects from the De la Sota collection, Caminos and Passages recognizes the artistic works of several of his former students, who are now fully developed artists in their own right.  These valued connections formed during Raoul’s years as art historian, gallery director and painting instructor at Los Angeles City College. The work by this group of former students is a tiny portion of the enormous collection of artworks that cover the walls in the De la Sota’s home.

Please join El Camino College Art Gallery in celebrating the life and works of Raoul De la Sota in Caminos and Passages, from October 8-November 1.

Raoul De la Sota, "Mictlan Journey"; Acrylic on Canvas; 54" x 54"
Raoul De la Sota, Mictlan Journey;
Acrylic on Canvas; 54" x 54"

 Raoul De la Sota; The Raven Speaks; Acrylic on canvas; 60x72"; 2010
Raoul De la Sota; The Raven Speaks;
Acrylic on canvas; 60x72"; 2010

Raoul De la Sota; Cactus Pair; Oil pastel on paper; 20x26"; 1996
Raoul De la Sota; Cactus Pair;
Oil pastel on paper; 20x26"; 1996

from the Collection of Raoul De la Sota; Ex-Voto I; Oil on tin; 9x7"
from the Collection of Raoul De la Sota;
Ex-Voto I; Oil on tin; 9x7"

Raoul De la Sota; Hibiscus; Acrylic on canvas; 48x48"; 1973
Raoul De la Sota; Hibiscus; Acrylic on canvas; 48x48"; 1973

Raoul De la Sota; Popocatepetl and Maguey; Acrylic on wood; 22x56"; 2005
Raoul De la Sota; Popocatepetl and Maguey; Acrylic on wood; 22x56"; 2005