'Burro' by Isaac Pelayo courtesy of the artist and Bruce Lurie Gallery

‘The American Dream’ by Isaac Pelayo @ Bruce Lurie Gallery

July 8, 2020

Mr. Pelayo contributes to the American Experiment at Bruce Lurie Gallery with a Latino verve to compound the multiplicitous layers of human history that have arrived onto this expansive and rich parcel of North American continental soil. Archiving the nascent ground floor of the Latin American and their ancient Spanish heredity reveals the stark though civilized differences between what can be quintessentially divided into what George Santayana would discern as “Roman” and “Nordic” styles of human culture.


It is best represented in the playful iconography and its intersection in the exercise of joy in life. The Roman Catholic tradition breathes a flavor of spiritedness, of elevated sense of self, separated from the temporal world and its earthly motivations which can become subversive if the task of daily upkeep is treated too seriously. Burro typifies this serious humor. The piñata and its vivid color is treated with sanctity. Its otherwise crude achievement of childish happiness is concentrated and ignores the Nordic anxieties of Election and its fervid attention to material well-being; but which also leads to a catastrophic bonfire of the vanities. For honest fortune is an alchemy precipitate which humans are too eager to judge without the proper insight on the natural election of those with the ability to serve others through serving themselves. Thus, the vanity of virtue reflected in unenduring possessions is absent the streets of the earnest Catholic faithful who is satisfied with fruits and candies rather than the temporary appearance of achieving God’s grace. A humble street vendor’s toil in the sunbaked California asphalt is enough of a virtuous appearance before the better than good mind of God. After all, whose stage are we playing on if not before the eternal audience of The One?


It is this humility in the effort presented by Mr. Pelayo which is the transcendental kernel which continuously propagates the American Spirit. For it is done with basking integrity, compounding to later reward the nation with loftier spiritual fruits, granting its future with nobility in positions of naturally honest civilizing power, say in the justice system, avoiding the corruptible fate which typifies mankind. Thus, it is righteous that Mr. Pelayo focuses on humble beginnings. For that is where dreams always start – from the ground floor. It is in this perseverance of dreaming which sustains the American Dream and its exalted placement in world history, magnetically attracting those who think they can to act, one sliced and spiced mango at a time.


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