Cultural Arts Museum pays tribute to late artist

Historical Symbolism
Artist Carlos G. Gomez stands in front of his artwork from the Hot Pepper series.

Special to the NEWS

Carlos G. Gomez was a Mexican painter raised in Brownsville. His artwork is internationally known and has been exhibited around the world in countries like Spain, China, and Australia.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Pan-American University and his Master’s in Fine Arts from Washington State University. Before his passing in 2016, Gomez served as a UTRGV Art Professor where he established a legacy and impacted multitudes of students.

Gomez’s artwork is known for its abstract surrealism and vibrant color scheme. With more than 30 years of experience in painting, his interest and media has changed over the years. Much of his artwork revolved around showcasing the inspiration obtained from his surroundings: the culture of the Rio Grande Valley and the atmosphere of the Mexican border provided Gomez a vision to encapsulate.

The Handsome Pepper exhibition celebrates the social and political aspects of immigration. It hopes to highlight the issues of immigration, especially the humiliation and ridicule many immigrants face.

The pepper serves as an icon throughout all of the pieces. The variation in its shape and size in addition to its flavor and depth mimic the variety of people that come through our borders. Peppers themselves are historically known to have dominated the New World, similar to the indigenous people of the Americas.

Through his work, Gomez wanted his viewers to see that everyone is essentially the same regardless of their background. All suffer, all love, and all have different emotions and feelings. The body of work looks at the strength and determination of the pepper as a vegetable in the New World and compares it to that of the immigrants.

When looking at the various pieces of artwork displayed, one finds a dynamic to each of the medias. There is oil on canvas, handcrafted work on paper, and then there are slabs of broken cement. The artwork on cement is quite unique, the use of mixed media helps to highlight the “impurities” of the rock itself.

“You start to see textures you wouldn’t realize. He uses the colors to emphasize certain cracks, knicks, or formations in the concrete to create this organic form,” explains San Benito Cultural Arts Director Luis Contreras.

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