What This Up-and-coming Mexican American Artist’s Pink-frosted Paintings Reveal About the American Dream

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Yvette Mayorga's first solo exhibition puts her painterly, confectionary technique on full display.

Robert Chase HeishmanCrystal Bridges Museum

She is the daughter of immigrants from Jalisco, Mexico, who first landed in Chicago, Illinois. Her mother, Maria, was a baker at Marshall Field’s department store, then gave it up to stay at home with the five kids when the family moved to Moline. Her father, Thomas, was a janitor at night, and worked 23 years by day at Tyson Foods, which is based in Northwest Arkansas, not far from Bentonville.

“What is painful is what didn’t continue after migration, the craft histories that are deeply rooted in my family,” she said, explaining how the ixtle plant fiber weaving heritage from her father’s side of the family influenced “Palma 1,” a googly eyed, sneaker-wearing, fiberglass character sculpture made from casting the stiff plant traditionally used to weave everything from bags to umbrellas.

cars, cell phones, sneakers, false eyelashes and acrylic nails in her work represent the American Dream. At the same time, she’s using theAn ongoing installation project called “Monuments of the Forgotten,” incorporating donated shoes decorated with plaster, acrylic paste and frosting, references border crossings. Look closer at some of the acrylic nails in her work and they spell out “F-ICE.”


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