Arturo Alonzo Sandoval
February 2nd through February 24th, 2018
Arturo Alonzo Sandoval: Two Perspectives
February 2nd through February 24th, 2018
"As a Vietnam Veteran I held inside me for over twenty years very strong feelings and emotions caused by the outcome of that war and which adversely affected many American families. The Vietnam Conflict lost many sons, daughters, fathers, sisters, and brothers. Angered by the Reagan and Administration newspaper headlines and populist magazine imagery was collected from 1980 - 1984 which I felt had a relationship with the content and issues I desired to portray in my newly conceived political art series.
In 1982 singer and songwriter Billy Joel’s album Nylon Curtain inspired me and gave me the courage to put aside any fears of the Nixon government recrimination. In my research for a symbol to use for this new political art series, it was Mr. Joel’s song titled Allentown, that drew my attention. My symbol was mentioned in the line “...where they threw an American flag in our face”. The design of the flag for the United States of America seemed the ideal format on which I could incorporate many images, text, and materials to depict my emotions, visual and political issues. The American flag is also a well-known pop symbol to all audiences and would surely attract the attention of a non-art oriented spectators. The flag design is also used to motivate this audience to approach the object and read the graphic imagery and text messages on the surface.
Through simplicity and boldness in design my intention is to bring a sense of urgency to the political or social issue being presented on the flag. This is accomplished in a variety of ways including the physical structure, various layered surfaces, texture, color, scale, and the format in presentation, that maybe, flat, vertical, waving right or left, or in distress (upside down). Materials for the main fabric of my flags have included Kentucky barn roofing metal, silk, jacquard woven tapestries, color transparencies, copy art on rag paper, photography, magazine images, newspaper images and text, acetate transparencies, iron-on fabric transfers, camouflage fabrics, paint, neon colors, shredded money, an umbrella, braid, netting, fringe, plastic skeletons, and repurposed American flags. Several flags from this series have experienced censorship, but others are in corporate, bank, private, and public collections.
For the 2016 exhibition, The Faces of Politics: In/Tolerance curated by Bruce Darryl Hoffman for the Fuller Craft Museum I was motivated to create another USA flag in distress because of the remarkable act of forgiveness given to the perpetrator Dylan Storm Roof by the survivors and family members of the shooting spree at the Historical Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and to use an image from his website that shows the Confederate flag. In addition, as a Kentuckian I was motivated to use an image of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis who still refuses to sign marriage licenses of gay couples even after the Supreme Court declared that gay persons have a right to be married. For me, both instances of injustice equally require monumental acts of “forgiveness” as Jesus stated to Peter in Matthew 18: verses 21-22."-Arturo Alonzo Sandoval
Opening Reception: Friday, February 2nd from 6-10pm
Arturo Alonzo Sandoval, Emeritus Professor,
School of Art and Visual Studies, University of Kentucky
In 1965, Arturo Alonzo Sandoval took a beginning-weaving course while a graduate student at California State College-Los Angeles. That same year he was ushered into the U. S. Naval Reserve and soon was shipped off to Vietnam where he spent time as a U.S.N.R. Officer on the U. S. S. Kitty Hawk, CVA 63 and on the U. S. Naval Base in Yokosuka, Japan. In 1969, he finished his M.A. specializing in sculptural fiber art. Encouraged by his professors Michael Schrier and Virginia Hoffman to consider teaching he pursued his terminal art degree at Cranbrook Academy of Art under Robert Kidd and Gerhardt Knodel, completing his M.F.A. degree in 1971. That same year while employed as manager of the Edison Institute Greenfield Village Carding Mill, he was offered a summer teaching position at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. More job opportunities surfaced and he accepted the teaching position at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. While there he began the Fiber and Textiles Program. He received a NEA Fellowship (1973) for his creative research in machine stitching and interlacing igniting a pursuit to create monumental mixed media fiber art in what traditionally are considered craft processes. In 1973, he joined the University of Kentucky Department of Art faculty. At UK Sandoval was provided a large art studio and freedom to explore and repurpose industrial trash as creative research for his fiber art expressions.
Sandoval’s background is both Hispanic and Native American (Tano). His ancestry (father: Lorenzo Sandoval, mother: Cecilia E. Archuleta) may provide clues to his interest in the fiber arts. He had been told by his mother that she wove 60 blankets while pregnant with him, but he discovered, during a visit to his birthplace at the age of 40, that men on his paternal grandmother’s side were weavers of colonial Spanish textiles for over two hundred fifty years; and they continue to weave functional craft objects in his native home state of New Mexico. What a revelation to this fiber artist who questioned why a spiritual voice told him in college “weaving will be very important to you”. Was that voice an ancestor? Sandoval wove during that discovery some of the commissioned linens for his great uncle Alfredo Cordova in the quaint Cordova Weaving Shop in Truchas, New Mexico. There are other similarities to be found between colonial Spanish designs and Sandoval’s fiber art. The most striking are the use of symmetry in brilliant color, bold shapes, contrast, and pattern. Symbolism is another design form employed by Sandoval. The Cordova weavers use traditional stylized forms to depict feathers and landscape whereas Sandoval combines complex patterned circles, flags, targets, and planets. Sandoval creates a new aesthetic with his contemporary fiber art objects using 20th Century recycled industrial materials as computer tape, battery cable, microfilm, Mylar, Holographic film and Lurex. Whether using a floor loom, sewing machine, interlacing, or simply combining new age materials in collage or assemblage processes, Sandoval pursues the cutting edge in his chosen art medium.
Professional activities include being an adjudicator, lecturer, and curator of exhibitions, set designer, workshop facilitator, non-profit board member, art mentor, and advisor. His fiber art works have been exhibited extensively regionally, nationally and internationally. His art accepted by jury into international exhibitions including the 8th and 14th Biennial of Tapestry in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the International Textile Competition in Kyoto, Japan; by invitation in the Textile Triennial in Lodz, Poland, and the International Quilt Festival, Birmingham, England. His creative efforts have been awarded two NEA Visual Arts Fellowships; several NEA supported Visiting Artist Grants. He received three Kentucky Arts Council (KAC) Al Smith Visual Arts Fellowship Awards, two KAC Al Smith Professional Service Awards, the KAC Craft Marketing Honorary Award, and the KAC and Kentucky Art and Craft Foundation, Inc. RUDE OSOLNIK Craftsman Award. In addition, he has been honored with the 2003 Governor’s Award in the Arts Artist Award, and a Kentucky STAR from the Downtown Lexington Corporation both for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts. In 2007, he was elected into the American Craft Council Society of FELLOWS, the most prestigious national craft award. His fiber mixed media art works are in many collections including the Museum of Modern Art, NY, The Museum of Art and Design, NY, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art: Renwick Gallery, Washington, DC; Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana, the National Vietnam Veteran’s Museum, Minneapolis, MN, the Greenville County Museum of Art, SC, and The J.B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY. Corporate collections include the Champion International Paper Co., Knightsbridge, OH, the Louisville Water Co. Louisville, KY; banks include Central Bank, Lexington, PNC and Bank One, Dayton, OH; commissions include the UF&CW Union, Washington, DC, the KMSF, Lexington, and Lexington Public Central Library, KY, and the GSA-AIA 6th District Courthouse, London, KY.
Sandoval received tenure at UK in 1978 and his academic title was promoted to full professor in 1986. During his forty-four-year tenure at the University of Kentucky Sandoval continued his passion for teaching and his art studio activity. In 2007, he was awarded the University of Kentucky KIRWAN PRIZE for creativity in research. In 2008, he was given the university’s highest honor by having the first Endowed Professorship Chair in his name awarded to the College of Fine Arts, School of Art and Visual Studies and approved by the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees. In addition, the UK Provost awarded him twice the UK Alumni Professorship Award for excellence in research as well as two Great Teacher Awards from the UK College of Education.
Though he taught past retirement age, his mantra to his students had always been “work produces results”. He continued to enjoy teaching encouraging his art students to work hard, develop discipline, take risks, and be self-motivated. He urged students to participate in campus, local, and national professional arts related events for their personal growth. Some of his art students have become professionals in the fields of craft, design, education, and arts administration while continuing their art studio careers. During that same period, he continued to pursue the creation of woven art quilts in his field sharing them through solo, invitational, and group exhibitions.
Sandoval retired from the academy in 2017 and immediately built an art studio attached to his home where he will continue to create his art expressions for exhibitions and commissions.