Seis de Mayo 

AlejAndro Anastasio and Bobby Gaytan at Lisk Gallery

If you're looking for ways to commemorate the 1862 defeat of French troops by Mexican nationals at the battle of Puebla, you can add an art opening to the list of possibilities. Following the normal festivities of Cinco de Mayo, Lisk Gallery will be holding a Seis de Mayo art opening. The show will feature works by local Hispanic artists AlejAndro Anastasio and Bobby Gaytan.

Gaytan, now 24, really began to pursue art in his sophomore year of high school. Last September he exhibited works at the Hispanic Cultural Center in Nampa. The show at Lisk Gallery will be his first this year. As far as painters go, Gaytan is still young; when he talks about his work he talks about it the way any good young painter would—as an attempt. Of course some of an artist's best work can come from the formative energy of trial and experimentation.

Gaytan talked about the ten paintings in this show as the results of things he was trying to do—to capture a kind of positive spirit in the midst of a lot of negative news. He was trying to combine the qualities of airbrush and spray can with straight brushwork. He was trying to work on the bright and sunny side of the palette. He was trying to create a style inspired by graffiti art atmosphere and feeling. And he was trying to tie it all together under the different sides of a single theme.

The theme is love, or "Amor," as the show is called. In each of the pieces one will find that tag, and in each case a different aspect or kind of love is being suggested. There is romantic love, a love for one's culture and country, the love that conquers all and one I found appealing and suggestive, Amor Desconocido, or Unrecognizable Love.

AlejAndro Anastasio is a busy guy. He works alongside Gaytan at the Bureau of Reclamation as a graphic artist. He is a Sensei, or teacher, at his own "Dojo," or martial arts school, and he is a sculptor who has shown work locally at Perpetual Metals, Art Source and Starving Artist's Gallery.

His martial arts school is called 3 Shapes Aikido. Aikido is a non-violent self-defense oriented martial art that places momentum and energy at the heart of its method. If I have understood it correctly, the practice of Aikido involves harmonizing one's defense with the momentum and energy of another's attack. By a slight redirection, the energy and force of the attack becomes the energy and momentum of the defense.

It is no surprise then that Anastasio's sculptural work follows a similar dynamic and involves a similar concern for harmony. The opening at Lisk Gallery will include around 20 pieces under the title, Sculptures for the Human Condition. Anastasio calls his art social commentary and the comment he is making about the "human condition," is, more specifically, the relationship humans have with the rest of the natural world. In his opinion we all need to be more aware of our place in the world. His artwork is about trying to harmonize with the natural world as opposed to controlling and dominating it. By using discarded materials and found objects Anastasio is forced to take his inspiration in part from the forms he finds. In short, he is forced to harmonize. The analogy is one of less manipulation and more cooperation. Rather than total fabrication Anastasio uses a slight redirection to create artwork out of discarded materials and found objects.

A reception for both artists is scheduled for First Thursday, May 6 from 6 to 9 p.m. Both shows will be at Lisk Gallery, (850 Main St., 342-3773) throughout the month of May.

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