Joe Peña, assistant professor of painting at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, will display works paintings of Mexican meals and food trucks.
“My work explores issues of ethnic identity, including aspects of cultural, familial and social traditions, relating to my Mexican heritage,” said Peña “This body of work pays homage to the food, specifically the organ meats, beloved in my Mexican culture. To put it simply, when I’m painting I don’t see a piece of meat in front of me but rather ‘home.’”
His second series began with a late-night visit to pick up a couple of tacos from a truck he frequented.
“I noticed [that] the streetlight that illuminated the area was not working and the only light visible was the glow coming from inside the truck. From a distance this view gave the truck the appearance of it almost hovering in the rich black emptiness of space,” said Peña “Since then I’ve visited numerous food trucks and stands to take photos and sketch while observing the atmosphere both in and outside of these locations. Each has its own presence and the visitors become its culture.”
Peña assisted in the development of a contemporary art gallery titled MB Modern in New York City, which operated for six years before relocating to Houston. He was appointed as public arts manager for the city of Corpus Christi, where he served for a year and a half before assuming the role of gallery director for Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi for three years.