ESCOMBROS (Spanish for rubble), a solo exhibition of new work by artist Luis Sahagun will be on view at Kruger Gallery Chicago, 3709 N Southport Avenue, from March 20 – May 2, 2015. Sahagun, an exciting, innovative Mexican-American artist, uses his experience as an undocumented immigrant growing up in Chicago Heights to inform his work.
Sahagun uses cardboard, concrete, metal, wood, and repurposed street rubble to create paintings, sculptures and objects, transforming discarded materials into works of art. Collectively his artworks create a modern-day anthropological site that represents both his community and his experiences as a minority in today’s United States. According to Sahagun, “Materials found in the street contain a history created by its residents. Within this context it is easy for me to connect these materials to people and places.”
In Sahagun’s cardboard paintings, Sahagun uses cardboard as a metaphor for his brown skin, stacking and adhering discarded pieces of cardboard into large, cube-shaped structures. He then cuts, tears, and slices into these forms with power tools, giving way to scars of the object’s disfiguration while simultaneously embracing the material’s physicality and beauty. Moreover, each mark suggests a private, painful narrative and celebrates the artist’s hand.
Responding to Sahagun’s exhibition, Two Sides to a River Story, at the SAE Institute in 2013, Jason Foumberg wrote in Chicago Magazine, “Luis Sahagun, a promising young artist, draws compelling portraits on reshaped cardboard boxes. He also uses the material in sculptural compositions so physically immediate they seem to emote.”
Sahagun was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico in 1982. His grandfather came to the United States in the 1940s under the Bracero Program, working in Chicago Height’s steel industry. Sahagun’s father found fieldwork in the late 1970s, and Luis was brought to this country in 1985, living undocumented until he was naturalized in 1995 under Ronald Reagan’s Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Sahagun, a 2001 graduate of Chicago Height’s Bloom High School, earned his BFA from Southern Illinois University in 2006. In 2012, Sahagun won best in show at SAE Chicago’s Emerging Artists Exhibition and has been featured in New American Paintings MFA Annual. He is expected to receive his MFA from Northern Illinois University in May of 2015.
There will be an opening reception for the artist on Friday, March 20 from 6 PM – 9 PM.