‘Autism: A Mexican Adventure’ to open at LeSo GalleryWritten by Jay Hathaway | | firstname.lastname@example.org
A local art gallery will be offering viewers a chance to experience an audio-visual journey through Mexico.
LeSo Gallery, 1527 Starr Ave., will host “Autism: A Mexican Adventure,” an exhibition by Cleveland-based artist, Craig Matis.
The opening event will take place 7-9 p.m. May 10. Following the opening, gallery hours will be noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The exhibit will close with a reception and artist talk 7-9 p.m. May 24.
“Autism: A Mexican Adventure” features 17 panels, all of which tell the fictional story of a father who takes his autistic son on a journey through Mexico, while coping with the recent death of his wife in America.
The exhibit utilizes a mixed media technique of folded paper and 3-D pencil drawings. Matis said that while the story is fiction, there are elements of truth, as well.
“I have incorporated my own personal experiences with raising a special needs child into a surrealistic narrative that leads the father and son on a mystical dream journey.”
Viewers will be “directly involved” with the artworks, walking by the text and images on the gallery walls while listening to recorded material. The show assumes the role of storyteller and engages the senses to bring the narrative to life.
“I hate to be old-school about it, but I’ll have CD players there,” Matis said. “The text will be there with each panel, but this adds another dimension to it.”
Matis’ son provides narration on the accompanying CD. The concept of blending audio and visual art has been an interest of Matis’ for some time.
“I’ve been in art for most of my life, and I’ve been doing what I call ‘songbooks’ for many years. They kind of evolved from a band I was in (Uzizi), where we used slides on a wall during a live show.”
Matis said that this project came about as a way to express his interest in Mexico and its culture, along with his role as a parent.
“The pieces of art incorporate a lot of Mexican iconography and landmarks. In some ways, it’s sort of a travelogue through Mexico.”
“There’s some element of truth to it. My son did go to Mexico with me several times.”
Matis said that he lived in Los Angeles for seven years, and the Hispanic culture there drew him in, which eventually led to his curiosity about Mexico.
“There’s so much color there, the way people decorate their homes, the artwork, and the people are quite attractive to me.”