In “Under the Influence” Jaime Mendoza presents a series of five works that address the symbiotic relationship between artist and critic. These paintings, photographs and multimedia installations illustrate moments in the artist’s personal struggle to maintain an impassioned practice in the face of public scrutiny. The artist, Mendoza argues, seeks solace from the anxiety that accompanies such a struggle. He poses the question of “whether the socially prescribed salves for the soul offer an actual remedy or stifle creativity, distorting the artist’s vision.” The answer, apparently, is the latter. Mendoza skims the surface of issues such as rejection, criticism, depression and public exposure in a pathetically one-dimensional and somewhat cliché approach. In his installation, “SUBMISSIONS,” an archetypal rejection letter from a major art museum looms framed above Mendoza’s polite reply as well as a pile of shredded papers that stand as a flaccid representation of his subsequent frustration at the denied proposal. Another display of painfully hackneyed imagery and attitude is present in “‘AMA ME SIENTO BEIN – ALL BETTER MOM,” which includes a small diorama of a red figurine traveling down a path of razor blades amidst a landscape of empty prescription pill containers. The best work to come out of this show is an unseen woman’s screaming orgasm, heard in the four-minute looping video “SOLACE IN B SHARP.” Unfortunately, Mendoza’s current exhibition in entirety comes nowhere near achieving a similar effect for the viewer. (Jamie Keesling)
Through September 27 at Antena, 1765 S. Laflin
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