The best thing art offers is freedom. Freedom to comment, discover, cajole, or embrace. If artists were merely looking for answers, they’d be mathematicians… and we’re so glad they’re not. As I walked through the Glenwood Arts Festival in Rogers Park a few weeks ago, Carlos’ work stood out.
The contrast and line work that are featured in Carlos Barberena’s linocut prints create a stark and magnetic feel. As soon as I saw that he had a political angle on the way Latin America experiences multinational corporations, well, I was in. The McDonald’s Mona Lisa couldn’t be a better representation of the ways in which the promise of profits leaves a lot to be desired in developing nations. How one gets out from under the boot or the board room is up for debate, but it’s clear to anyone living south of the Rio Grande that corporate involvement everywhere from Mexico to Argentina (and it’s not confined by this hemisphere, mind you) is a lot more dubious than the platitudes offered up by notions of free-trade & GDP.
Between the detail, the social commentary, and the beautiful aesthetics of relief, Carlos Barberena is a testament to the thriving creative scene the city of Chicago upholds. Our neighborhoods need to share more, but it’s great to see an artist like Carlos get attention for his skillful linocut conquests of corporate-speak.
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