Vito Jesus Valdez
Near the Art Center's front door, Dog Man Mowing offers a six-foot-tall dog-man constructed of scrap wood, wearily pushing an old junked lawn mower covered completely with drips and blobs of bright-colored paint. The dog-man, painted in a mix of fluorescent and smokier, darker spray paints, once adorned a Detroit park, according to an Art Center staff member.
The exhibit also includes four joyous, multicolored abstract paintings from a series entitled Corazón de Agua Azul (pictured) and two bowling-ball-size metal assemblages. On a rough silvery metal base suggesting an obscure car part, the assemblages sport nails, rows of pennies and dimes, a railroad spike, small plumbing accessories, and other finds seemingly collected by a junkyard magpie.
In the Art Center's Gallery 2, on the second floor, appear about a dozen lively works on paper that range from notebook to poster size, resulting from Valdez's work with Detroit local youth. The downstairs and upstairs works are on display through Saturday, August 19.
[Review published August 2006]