Order in Chaos
John Andro Avendano
Click to see full image.
EXHIBITION: June 30 - Aug 30, 2022
Seattle-based, Latino painter John Andro Avendano (b.1959) in his first solo exhibition in Seattle, presents a powerful body of recent work dedicated to anti-violence. Comprised of fifteen vibrantly colorful paintings in oil/mixed media on canvas and panel, they visually form a refutation of the violence we’ve repeatedly witnessed as a nation and a world.
“I grew up Hispanic, born in Arleta, California, and rooted in East Los Angeles. Daily, I was either in the shadows or lived adjacent to, violence.” Growing up in East LA, Avendano’s mother, Anastasia Orozco Avendano, reminded him of the importance and need for family. She often spoke of her great uncle - one of the “Big Three” Mexican Muralists, Jose Clemente Orozco (1883-1949). “Historically, he faced political turmoil, violence, and anti-violence movements. But rose above all the chaos and became a steward of his gifts.”
Together, in 2020 we were isolated, immobilized, powerless, and fearful as violence escalated locally and abroad. There was much talk of protecting oneself, one’s speech, and one’s community. Avendano in his studio looked at a blank canvas, opened his flat files, and took an old stack of collage paper - among them ironically, targets. “I researched the usage of this symbol and similar usage that produced the 'Bullseye series' by artist Jasper Johns from 1955-1961. Reluctantly, I thought, how do I take something offensive, viscerally disturbing, and raw that symbolizes the fear I was experiencing into something beautiful and healing?”
Disassembling the image, he began the creative process. “I took the figure in my hand, started at the top, and tore strip after strip from top to bottom. Then, something beautiful happened… I rearranged the pieces into new free-flowing forms, lines, and shapes on the canvas. Next, I applied bright, bold colors with oil paints and scraped the finish with broad strokes, further moving the images. Finally, I stopped and stepped back, remaining still so I could study and search for more inspiration as the oil paints dry. This pause catalyzed my imagination to take off again as I reapproached the painting with oil sticks, pastel pencils, and markers. More hidden images would appear and emerge from the layers. I knew the piece was complete when the canvas vibrated in a beautiful rhythmic motion all on its own, as the painting would stop talking to me.”
The recent mass violence we’ve observed and mourned, both nationally and globally, makes this exhibition particularly timely and socially relevant. What arose up from 2020 to the current turmoils locally in Seattle, nationally, and abroad have been difficult. Avendano observes, “You can’t connect the dots forward, but you can connect them backward. Another challenge was that I like to paint beautiful things, beautiful paintings, as an expression of healing; if not a cure, can they be a good remedy, a healing balm?”
The artist’s deep love of our humanity - its paradoxical virtues of love and compassion in contrast with the imperfection(s) of the world - have inspired this powerfully redemptive
exhibition: CHAOS IN ORDER
Frederick Holmes & Co.
309 Occidental Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104, USA
ABOUT THE GALLERY: Widely considered one of the finest galleries in the Northwest, Frederick Holmes & Co. is a boutique fine art gallery, founded in 2013 in the center of Seattle’s historic district, Pioneer Square. It’s dynamic programming consists of a rotating schedule of monthly exhibitions on two floors of both emerging national and international contemporary artists, and historic mid-century Modern, including Salvador Dali, Roberto Matta, Rolph Scarlett, Pablo Picasso, and others.
Frederick Holmes & Company exclusively represents the art-historic estates of two critical 20th century Modernist painters, Walter Quirt (1902-1968) and Oscar Van Young (1906-1991), whose paintings are in important public collections throughout the
The Gallery also produces and hosts HOT JAZZ AT THE GALLERY, a monthly series of live performances by the top jazz musicians and vocalists in the region.
The gallery’s emphasis is on the collector, regardless of their level of experience, and a friendly, hospitable, educationally-oriented presentation of the gallery’s offerings. Gallery owner Frederick Holmes has over 40 years in the art business, acting in a variety of professional roles, coast to coast. The gallery frequently collaborates with national galleries and dealers to enhance its programming and broaden the visibility of Seattle as an increasingly important and viable market for collectors nationwide.