Mexican Artist 'Saner' Depicts Folklore, Politics and and Worldwide Realities Through Art (EXCLUSIVE)
When Mexican urban artist, illustrator and graphic designer "Saner" (Edgar Flores) draws or paints, there is a feeling of humble empowerment, for he has the chance to capture your attention -- even just for a minute -- to make you think about life, love, society, the government and reassess the world around you.
Whether he's dissecting the toll of rapid urban development versus the natural world and challenging people to look at the past and learn from it, Saner revels in his roots with an ethereal connection to traditional Mexican folklore.
He also references the tumultuous political system in Mexico, using the recent mass disappearance and tragic execution of 43 students in Ayotzinapa by incorporating a complex undertone in a vibrantly layered piece of artwork.
"We have terrible stories about the drug cartels, the corruption within the government and military system. At the end it's not only Mexico, it's around the world," he told Latin Post in an exclusive interview. "New York City has problems with the cops ... It's a big problem around the world... Asia, Latin America, at the end it's not a problem for one country but for all of the countries of the world. I try to make a mirror and use my country as an example."
The Mexico City native and resident is presenting his debut solo exhibition, "Primitivo" until Feb. 7 at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery, dedicated to "cutting-edge art," at 529 West 20th Street, New York, NY.
Saner is a humble and quiet, but powerful force to be reckoned with in the art world. New York City hip-hop artist, record producer and art enthusiast, Swizz Beatz (Kasseem Dean) who is married to singer Alicia Keys, agrees.
"I'm honored to add these new Amazing @saner_edgar works to #TheDeanCollection please go see this show at @jonathanlevinegallery NYC Today," Swizz Beatz wrote.
Swizz Beatz also reportedly purchased his first piece by Saner during Art Basel Miami in December 2014 and has been closely following his work ever since.
In "Primitivo," Saner zeroes in on the rapid urban development and questions the shift away from the natural world. Saner created "lively portraits of characters wearing Nahuale masks reminiscent of those found on the streets of Mexico, and according to legend, have the power to transform human beings into animals. Drawing from the visual culture of his everyday life, his paintings are a celebration of the local environment they originate from."
"The concept for the show is really important to me," he told Latin Post. "We appear 'superhuman,' or we have the best technology and we have good conditions to survive day-by-day, but the truth is we are primitive people. We love the soul or the will of the spirit to survive for our families, our friends, our teachers ... Sometimes the governments try to kill for more power or to take more money and we lose the essentials in life."
"We talk about primitive man as this tough guy, living in an elementary way, only focused on basic needs," he said. "Modern man no longer has to hunt or provide in such a rudimentary way and yet more than ever we are faced with poverty and war. So are we really living in such a highly developed world?"
Saner's following has "grown immensely" over the last few years with numerous solo exhibitions in both Mexico and California, including a show at Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de San Luis Potosi (MACSLP) in Mexico in 2014 that was entitled "La Locura de un Hombre Desconocido." "Primitivo" is his first solo show at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, as well as his first solo show in New York.
Saner previously participated in a group exhibition at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery, held in May 2014, called "Art Truancy: Celebrating 20 Years of Juxtapoz Magazine." After that, LeVine asked him to participate in a group show he was invited to curate in Berlin at Urban Nation. Saner not only participated in the group show, but also travelled to Berlin with four other artists to create site-specific window installations.
Saner developed an interest in drawing and Mexican muralism while he grew up in Mexico City and began expressing himself through graffitti in the late 1990s.
In 2004, he received a degree in graphic design from Universidad Autónoma de México. His work has been exhibited in galleries worldwide including Barcelona, Berlin, London, New York and Mexico City.
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