Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Cinderella. Venus.
None of these cultural icons escape the humorous, thoughtful hand of artist Linda Vallejo for her show "Make 'Em All Mexican" at George Lawson Gallery. Opening this past Saturday, the exhibition gives recognizable images a funny twist as Vallejo has turned the characters' skin tan, often adding tattoos.
Vallejo boasts a number of solo shows dating back to 1988 in a number of states, and this same show appeared in 2011 at Avenue 50 Studio.
Inside the gallery, a number of shiny statues stand on different pedestals. The legendary figure Cleopatra gets a butterfly belly tattoo. A reclining Venus figure shows a classical, tan beauty with the Virgin of Guadalupe tattooed onto her back. Little Brown Boy Celebrating El Dia de Los Muertos portrays a young, tan boy dressed in dandy clothing, and decorated with traditional Dia de Los Muertos face paint. In the next room, Vallejo transforms a number of Disney characters into tan figures as well, in a work of oil and repurposed posters entitled Makes No Difference Who You Are.
The exhibit alludes to the fact that Los Angeles is a meeting place for these two cultures. Boticelli might not approve of his Venus figure transformed into a dark-skinned, tattooed beauty, but Angelenos sure can.
"Make 'Em All Mexican" runs until March 9 at George Lawson Gallery, 8564 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City. (310) 837-6900, georgelawsongallery.com.