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Spanish-owned gallery debuts with conceptual exhibit by local artists

A brand new art space near Americas and La Paz in Guadalajara has opened in a vintage home designed by luminary architect Luis Barragán in 1929. Travesía Cuatro, as the gallery is called, has roots in Madrid, yet the owners have chosen for its first event three Guadalajara conceptual artists whose pieces do not appear commercially oriented. 

The house/gallery sits literally in the shadow of the graceful new Hotel Demetria and in a small nucleus of Spanish influence: the restaurant Riscal, an office that assists Spaniards in Guadalajara, and the Spanish consulate are all nearby. It is known as Casa Franco and had been languishing until Hotel Demetria sprung up at its side, energizing the area. 

The three artists featured in this exhibition, Gonzalo Lebrija, Jorge Méndez Blake and José Dávila, blend together well. The first room showcases pieces by Méndez — large, framed, enigmatic poems in three languages. Another room houses José Dávila’s work — two large slabs of what seems to be stone flooring, suspended precariously from the walls with nylon webbing and heavy duty hooks. In the third room, a video by Gonzalo Lebrija shows a man with a rifle tossing books into the sky and shooting them. The last room has work by all three artists which is somewhat less conceptual and more focused on color, texture, shape and material.

Casa Franco was only the third house that the prolific Barragán designed — a handful of his other buildings pepper the surrounding area — and it shows Mediterranean and Arabic influence. All the workmanship and details in the house are original, say gallery owners Silvia Ortiz and Inez Lopez.

Travesía Cuatro, La Paz 2207 at Simon Bolivar (near Union), Guadalajara. Open Tuesday to Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.


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