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Francisco Moreno: Jaguar Dreams
January 12-February 24,  2024

For his California debut, COL Gallery is thrilled to present recent paintings by Francisco Moreno (b. 1986).


Originally from Mexico City, Moreno currently lives and works in Dallas. Over the past three years, inspired by his Mexican heritage, Moreno has inserted bodies into the Western art historical cannon not commonly seen, re-imagining history as it would have been experienced. While he makes historical references and employs a highly technical style of European painting, Moreno blends cultures and time periods to create fantastical explorations that are also deeply tied to his personal life and contemporary experience. His paintings are not only the narratives of his culture made visible and current, they are also meditations on how one navigates finding their unique place in a society from someone who has lived across multiple cultures.


Through this recent series, Moreno continues to explore his interest in the history of painting which he then merges with contemporary symbols including oversized watches, humanoid forms, and modern automobiles. The largest painting in the show, Family Vacation (2023), includes a larger-than-life metal bird juxtaposed against a verdant Tuscan landscape with a peaceful family enjoying a picnic at the forefront (a subtle nod to Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe, 1863). The piece raises the potential problem of contemporary society’s ongoing reliance on technology and how one would explain this modern phenomenon to our forebearers. The small box sitting in front of the woman’s lap contains an image of Earth, a clever symbol for a telephone. Moreno seems to quietly posit the question that we have the world at our fingertips, but at what cost? Thus, he continues to accept technology tentatively while clearly remaining wary of its constant encroachment.


In another painting, a self-portrait, Moreno stares out at the viewer, pencil in hand, emerging partly in color and left partly in black and white in a piece that becomes an autobiographical examination of identity. It raises important questions about how we view ourselves and also how the perception of others informs our sense of self. In the mid–2000s, the term “Latinx” started cropping up in the contemporary lexicon. It became a geographical reference term to identify those whose ancestors had come from a Latin American country. While the term was created with inclusivity in mind, it also highlighted the many nuances and differences among those from Latin America (which includes Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba, French-speaking Caribbean nations, Central or South America); diverse groups of people, histories and cultures who mistakenly may have been imagined by some as a unique and cohesive whole. Moreno’s practice sits between states; his paintings are tied to his unique Latinx experience, which is rooted partly in Mexico City, partly in Texas but also influenced by his travels across Europe. Yet, at their core, his practice highlights the importance of chasing an authentic and unique life that can be as expansive and honest as one chooses to be. As the heron’s ribbon proudly proclaims in the painting Inspirational Heron (2019–2023), “Every day in every way I’m getting better and better and better…” Ultimately, his works are beautiful explorations of cultural hybridity and the hope for a world where we all have the capacity to strive for individual greatness.


Moreno received a BFA in painting from the University of Texas at Arlington and an MFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design where he was a Presidential Scholar. In 2016, he received an Artist Microgrant from the Nasher to start the production of his Chapel, which was acquired by the Dallas Museum of Art. Moreno has had solo exhibitions at OFG.XXX, Erin Cluley Gallery, the Latino Cultural Center, and COAM in Madrid, Spain.

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