In Review | Carmen Argote: Making Order Out of Sisterly Chaos / CRAVE


The sister bond goes deep. It’s something that L.A.-based artist Carmen Argote knows from the literal inside out. In her newest solo exhibition, Alex’s Room, at Commonwealth & Council Gallery, Carmen focuses on her sister, Alex. Family is an ongoing theme for Carmen. Her father was the subject of her last two solo exhibitions at Adjunct Positions and Shulamit Nazarin, and now her creative spotlight turns to her sister. On opening night, Carmen and her sister Alex wore matching yellow-and-beige patterned dresses and seemed to be joined at the hip. Carmen spoke with a fervor in her voice when she explained the work on hand; truly, it’s thrilling to have a solo exhibition, but to make art that helps to create a deeper bond with a family member adds an extra energy to the work.

The works that emerge in this show offer a curated portrait of Alex as Carmen sees her, using her possessions and interior surroundings as a mirror of her identity construction. For the show, Carmen approached her sister Alex, asking if she could come hang out at her place and document her. Alex lives in a single-room, low-income unit in Boyle Heights that’s stuffed to the gills with her possessions, which seems to border on hoarding. Carmen threw herself into Alex’s room, became fascinated with it, and then made art as she was crawling out and around her belongings. The sisters love each other. The sisters love their stuff. Ultimately, the collaborative exploration of Alex’s stuff brings the two of them closer together.
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