“All That Glitters” Now Open at the UICA

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By Kayla Sosa | Photos courtesy 

“All That Glitters,” an exhibition by Mandy Cano Villalobos that questions what we as a society place value on, is on display at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts through Sept. 8.

“We live in a world that is bombarded with images and social media and
the constancy of now,” Cano Villalobos said. “In that distraction, we don’t
even realize that we want more than what we are getting, or what we are feeding ourselves.”

Throughout the exhibition, two-dimensional “objects of desire” are represented by pieces of art, such as a burlap bag filled with down feathers, or crumpled up rags painted in gold. The irony of the seemingly worthless rags paired with the glamour of gold is exactly what Cano Villalobos wants viewers to notice — when seen as shiny and gold, the rags become more desirable. 

“When someone looks at my work, they’ll realize that they want something more,” she said. “They want it immediately available.”

Cano Villalobos incorporates laborious work to move away from
the fast-paced lifestyle of Western culture.

“I want to negate the immediacy and consumerism that we constantly abide in,” she said. 

By doing this, Cano Villalobos is protesting the way that we live and going back to the “fundamentals of what it is to be human.”

“The tactile nature of sewing, or the communal nature of sewing, or the ritualistic aspect of painting dots one after the other,” Cano Villalobos said. “Something that is well made […] that automatically is kind of challenging the way that American society functions.”

Cano Villalobos’s work will be on display in the UICA’s 4th Floor Gallery. Attendees may view the work and read the artist statement for more background on Cano Villalobos’ motivations.

“Everybody is going to come into an art institution with different expectations and different backgrounds, and so my hope is that my work will speak to all of those differences,” Cano Villalobos said. 

Cano Villalobos expects most people to be attracted to her art viscerally at first; enjoying the sight of something “shiny.” But some may choose to go deeper and think about the processes and the meaning behind the work. 

“Hopefully people will look past that, because a lot of times I’m pairing something gold with something stained or worn, and conveys the passage of time,” she said. “Juxtaposing those two things, my hope is that people will recognize that one is just as beautiful as the other or that there’s this sense of desire for both.”

What: “All That Glitters” by Mandy Cano Villalobos
When: July 12 – Sept. 8, 2019
Where: UICA
Cost: Members/Free; Non-members/$5

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