Brown Style is a multimedia installation presenting the people, places, and events embedded in Más Rudas’ Chicana upbringing. The exhibition traces the artists’ childhood experiences and route into the art world. A collage of sculpture, text, photography, painting, and other items of material culture represents the memories that have led them to their collective practice and anchor the group.
Facing Main Street, enlarged prints of the artists’ baby photos line the windows and welcome the community to look inside. Outside, the sounds of cicadas and cheerful popular music from the 1950s and 1960s linger in the air. Inside, the gallery space is gently framed by sky blue walls with clouds, city buildings, and vintage family photos. The warm lighting, antique floral print wallpaper, and textiles transform the gallery into a safe, inviting, home-like haven. However, upon closer inspection, the work details darker experiences of anxieties in adulthood.
Brown Style exalts Más Rudas’ perspective as Chicana artists in San Antonio, championing their cultural upbringing and roots that shape their contemporary artistic practice. They assert that “many artists resist the term Chicana in fear of being pigeonholed and excluded from the art world. We feel that our Chicana identity does not hinder or limit us.”
Inspiration for the title Brown Style comes from: Márez, Curtis. “Brown: The Politics of Working-Class Chicano Style.” Social Text. 48 (1996): pp. 109 -132
Más Rudas is comprised of four artists: painter Ruth Buentello, textile artist Sarah Castillo, filmmaker Kristin Gamez, and photographer Mari Hernandez. The collective formed in 2009 with Our Debut, an exhibition based on the idea of producing a feminist art show with a Chicana point of view. In 2010, Más Rudas created Homegirls, the resulting exhibition of a one-week residency at Slanguage in Los Angeles, California. The group has exhibited at Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin and the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio, and was featured in the spring 2012 issue of the Chicana/Latina Studies: The Journal of Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social. The artists maintain their individual studio practices while working and exhibiting together as a collective, as each of their separate artistic practices informs and ignites the other.