Puerto Rican artist Roxana Pérez Mendez’s exhibition at Taller Puertorriqeño’s Gallery,Philadelphia, PA

Roxana Pérez-Méndez, Finca Del Guaraguao, 2017 (detail)

PHILADELPHIA, PA —   Roxana PérezMendez’s exhibition Quien a buen árbol se arrima will open with a reception in Taller Puertorriqeño’s gallery, located in the new El Corazón Cultural Center at 2600 N 5th St.Philadelphia, PA

The work is an installation that draws on the history of the local Puerto Rican community and research in Taller’s archives to reflect on the cultural organization’s historical role, incorporating imagery from the Spanish colonization of Puerto Rico, Taíno ritual dances, and Puerto Rican home life. 

The title of this work is a reference to the Spanish saying, Quien a buen árbol se arrima, buena sombra lo cobija. This translates to, “He who takes shelter under a great tree gets the best shade,” meaning those who benefit most in life are those who associate with something greater than themselves—in this case, the artist refers to Taller. 

This installation will use a technique called “Pepper’s ghost” to create a series of hologramlike illusions on dioramic scenes placed around the gallery. Scientist John Henry Pepper developed this technique in the mid-1800s; using angled mirrors and reflective transparent surfaces, the technique simulates a ghost-like hologram to the viewer. 

Pérez-Mendez often uses the illusions in her installation work to merge the contemporary with the traditional, responding to the capricious nature of contemporary identity. 

The exhibition will run until March 25. 

Roxana Pérez-Méndez view eshibition 

About the Artist Roxana Pérez-Méndez (b. 1976) is a video performance and installation artist who creates work about the arbitrary nature of contemporary identity through the lens of her own experiences as a Puerto Rican woman.

Pérez-Méndez is based in Philadelphia and has exhibited widely including but not limited to the Universidad de Sagrado Corazón (San Juan, Puerto Rico), Taller Puertoriqueño, (Philadelphia), Times Museum (Guangzhou, China), the North Carolina Museum of Art (Raleigh, NC), the Morris Gallery at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (Philadelphia), the Elizabeth Foundation of the Arts (NY, NY), the Arlington Arts Center (Arlington, VA), the Fleisher-Ollman Gallery (Philadelphia). She was a finalist for both the Joan Mitchell Award and the Pew Fellowship in the Arts in 2006. As a Philadelphia based artist, she is also an artist/member of the collective Vox Populi Gallery in Philadelphia. Pérez-Méndez received her BFA from The Ohio State University, her MFA from the Tyler School of Art and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2003.