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Catalog Data

Carlos Villa, born San Francisco, CA 1936-died San Francisco, CA 2013  Search this
acrylic on canvas
82 x 72 in. (208.3 x 182.9 cm)
Gallery Label:
Paintings show the physical touch of their makers, usually using a brush or other tool. Here we see the literal imprint of the artist's body--where he pressed his chest, thighs, hands, and feet, wet with paint, against the canvas. The resulting imagery suggests a ritual or a dance.
Carlos Villa's face-print can also be seen, emerging from and disappearing into the background. Including his face was, for Villa, a way to affirm his identity as a Filipino American artist. As a student in the 1950s, Villa had been stung when a teacher told him, "Filipino art history doesn't exist." He went on to uncover--and create--this art himself.?Recognizing Filipino culture as a mix of Indigenous, Asian, and Western influences, Villa developed a personal aesthetic that drew form and iconography from a wide array of cultural sources.
Figure\fragment\hand  Search this
Figure\fragment\face  Search this
Figure\fragment\foot  Search this
Figure\fragment\chest  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase made possible through Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
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Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Painting and Sculpture
On View:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, 3rd Floor, North Wing
Data Source:
Smithsonian American Art Museum