''Personalities and Provocateurs''

It’s Sir Francis Bacon meets Norman Rockwell, with a touch of Diego Velázquez thrown in, at Camargo Valentino’s exhibit ''Personalities and Provocateurs.'' The name refers to Valentino’s love of superheroes and cartoon characters, often the subject of his work. Don’t let the subject matter fool you, though; he might be painting Batman, but he’s doing it with classical technique.

“He mixes together Darth Vader with a Velázquez pose,” says Angel Quesada, visual arts curator at Talento Bilingüe de Houston. “He’ll take Frances Bacon, stick in Mickey Mouse ears and a ‘Hello, My Name is Frances’ name badge. It’s all very tongue in cheek. He’s not coming at it from a highbrow prospective, he’s coming at it with, ‘This is what I like and I’m putting it in there.’ It’s really quite charming.”

Charming, yes, but there’s also a bit of an edge. In Pope Not So Innocent X, Valentino shows the pope in a a classical pose, one that would be typical of a Velázquez painting. In a pop culture reference, Valentino has added a Guy Fawkes mask, like the one seen in the film V for Vendetta, which hints at a subversive rather than benevolent character.

There’s an opening reception with the artist from 7 to 10 p.m. February 16. (Enter the superhero costume contest, and you might win one of Valentino’s limited-edition prints.) Regular viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Through March 10. Talento Bilingüe de Houston, 333 South Jensen. For information, call 713-222-1213 or visit www.tbhcenter.org. Free.
Mondays-Thursdays. Starts: Feb. 16. Continues through March 10, 2012


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