Friday, June 16, 2017
Old Friend, New Location
This spectacular painting by Paul Pletka has had a place of honor in a large gallery in the museum for many years. Recently, the museum put together a special show called "Border Crossings" and brought together many works that represent a cultural conversation between Mexico and the United States. Paul Pletka's masterpiece entitled "Nuestro Señor el Desollado (Our Lord, the One Who is Flayed)" is the star of the exhibit. The painting is a done in brilliant acrylic paint on canvas and every inch of it masterfully painted.
The painting depicts a mix of Mexican and Spanish Colonial images with pre-Columbian heritage as well as a mix of contemporary Mexican-American culture.
There are so many things to look at in this painting that it's hard to see it all.
For example if you look closely at the priests robe you can actually see the threads in the embroidery. And, speaking of the embroidery, notice the juxtaposition between the two panels on the robe. One shows missionaries preaching to the Aztecs in front of a cross, the second scene shows conquistadors stabbing those same Aztecs.
The large crowd of worshiping people are all dressed in a variety of attire ranging from historic and native costumes to contemporary clothing.
And the artist, Paul Pletka painted himself in the painting as one of the onlookers. It's one of those paintings you can look at over and over again and always see something new and interesting. It deserves to be the focal point of this exhibit that makes a friendly handshake with our Mexican friends across the border.