Xavier Lopez Jr. : Bio
Xavier Lopez is a contemporary, Latino, conceptual, mixed media artist. Lopez received his MFA from the University of California, Davis, where he created the theoretical/artistic thesis of the "Soft Cyborg." As a "Post-Pop Artist," he is part of a young group of artists who are seeking to move beyond contemporary mainstream ideas, becoming post genre, mixing sculpture, performance art, theory, painting and anything else they can get their hands on to create something exciting and new. In 2016, allied with La Sala--a leading Latino Arts organization in Seattle, Washington, Xavier Lopez and Lauren Davis put together the very first Latinx Performance Art Festival. (They are currently planning more in the series.) Then in 2017, Xavier Lopez alongside Vicente Montanez were cited in the Routledge critical theoretical textbook "Performance; A Critical Introdcuction--by Marvin Carlson, Third Edition," as leading the Latinx Performance Art movement, something for which they are extremely proud.
Lopez is part of a new breed of Latinx artists for whom art-making, while still personal and autobiographical in the broadest sense, eschews the obvious tropes of masculinity, hegemony and race with very little regard for the overbearing visual, cultural history that has proven to be overpowering for so many artists of this age--especially artists of color. Instead, as an Hispanic artist, it has become clear to Lopez over the course of his thirty-plus year career that his work has focused on a more personal kind of conceptualism, centering on autobiography and his own set of obsessions, hopes and fears.
Lopez has shown artwork on both American coasts as well as in Germany, England and France, and he has come to be known for his own brand of lush, conceptual, post post-modern sculpture, especially his "sheet ghost" installations, flower Rorschachs, tin foil mountains and his performance art.
As a child in the seventies, before Lopez even knew what art was, his father was in the Chicano Art Movement in Los Angeles and the younger Lopez would tag along to the "Mechicano" Art Centers of Southern California mentally devouring the exciting scenes of Chicano artists making political and historical work, expressing first-hand what it meant to be a "Chicano" in the seventies. Days would pass as he watched his father paint murals, all the while, day-dreaming of his own future. Lopez' parents often took their three children to the Los Angeles Museum of Art, where he saw Warhol's Brillo Boxes and his first conceptual sculptures.
Later, in college, his mind would be blown by the work of Marcel Duchamp and the neoDadas. He has had many mentorships, receiving advice and encouragement from feminist Lynn Hershman, taking performance art classes from theorist Joanna Frueh, creating the "Putoh" art form with Katharine Adamenko, sneaking into Wayne Thiebaud's classes at UC Davis and arguing about art with critic Dave Hickey, but his biggest mentor of them all has been his sculpture instructor at UNR, Robert Morrison, who taught him how to think for himself, how to weld and to work with his hands.
It was also at university that he began to notice a big difference between how his heroes made art and how he was expected to make art. When a Duchamp or a Beuys made their work it was about ideas, it was about their ideas and it reflected the way that they saw the world. With this realization, Lopez decided that he would take an oppositional stand and make art that came from his own personal experiences, that he would make work that was unique to his own, singular viewpoint and that above all else it would be art that was about ideas. From then on Lopez sought to make his own way as an individual artist, seeking to express his own view of the universe and to speak of his own personal issues, obsessions and desires. This has become a very important stance of liberation, which in and of itself is powerful and revolutionary.
Lopez career is a journey and a complex intellectual investigation--at the same time, however, it is not a refutation of difference, history or culture--as that is also a very important part of Lopez' (hi(s)tory--rather, Lopez work is about those areas where we come together, aware that we are not post-race and that his work is not either.
As an artist, Lopez' career has been multivalent, mixing sculpture, performance art, theory and painting, creating a body of work that is experimental and fierce--with the power of a slap to the back of the head. Lopez has been part of several high-profile art events at the Seattle Art Museum, 4Culture, Artist Trust, Seattle Arts & Culture and most recently he has worked with the Seattle LatinX organization "La Sala" for their "La Cocina" project where he put together and performed in the first ever night of all LatinX performance art. He is a recipient of the prestigious 2016 Artist Up Grant Lab Award as well as several other grants, fellowships and commissions from various American cities.
Lopez is continually, growing and evolving. Fans of his work can always expect a sense of wonder, innocence and experience, but mostly a celebration of imagination and discovery that keeps drawing more and more viewers to play in the “Deep End” of his imagination. “I want viewers of my work to feel as they do just before going over the cliff at Splash Mountain, that feeling of elation, terror, excitement--all of it!”--he has said.
Xavier Lopez’ work can be found at various art galleries in the Seattle area, including Gargoyles Statuary and Echo Echo in the Greenwood Collective as well as appearing on many murals, posters and prints. He is the author of a blog that covers the Seattle Art Scene for the online newspaper, the Seattle Post Intelligencer and has written for various magazines and newspapers. Xavier’s work has been shown in several publications and magazines including Hi Fructose, Catapult Magazine, Dark Beauty, Vex , Mad Magazine and two issues of Studio Visit Magazine.