The Fisher Museum has maintained a fascination with local and emerging artists and you can’t get more local than your own backyard. In January of 1978, a gardener on campus mustered up the courage to take a small drawing of his composed using markers to an unsuspecting Professor Susan Larsen. Leopold Enriquez may have been a USC employee by day but by night he was committed to bringing the memories and landscapes of rural Mexico to the canvas. His series of twelve paintings that eventually were featured in the Fisher Museum capture an intimate moment of a man remembering his boyhood home despite the years that had separate his life in Zacatecas, Mexico and his time in Los Angeles. Filled with full rivers that flow upstream and wide eyed animals, the style of the sentimental landscapes were described as “light and exploratory” by Dr. Larsen.
In a Los Angeles Times special, the then Fisher Gallery Director Donald Brewer noted that “Enriquez has a primitive style that formal schooling might destroy”. The raw quality of Enriquez work is both very personal, but also can be contextualized within the greater conversation of Chicano art in the Los Angeles area at a time when the chicano activism was at the tail end of its most active period. As a working class artists, he was also a refreshing perspective for the Fisher Museum into the realities of the community all around us.
The landscapes of Enriquez demonstrates how East Los Angeles has been an incubator for artists from all walks of life, and our current show features more than six East Los Angeles artists that continue the artistic legacy of the area. Visit A Generosity of Spirit to experience the work of Carlos Almaraz, Juan Carlos Alom, Elsa Flores and many more.