Rea Lynn de Guzman's new show TL Dreams is a series of memories -- a mix of her imagined and lived experiences in the Tenderloin -- presented in a wash of bright acrylics and printed organza.
But more than anything, the pieces serve as a snapshot of all the different shapes liminality can take.
The earlier work in TL Dreams captures de Guzman's life mid-transition -- her immigration from the Philippines to San Francisco’s Turk Street, her shift from youth to adulthood -- in a chromatic palette that's more fever dream than true-to-life. Children are portrayed in model-esque forms, surrounded by jeepneys and other paraphernalia of a life left in the Philippines.
"I am interested in the perplexing nature of these in-between, psychological experiences that are often difficult to process or talk about but could possibly flow freely in the form of art," de Guzman says.
The show is inspired by a specific time and place: the Tenderloin in the early aughts, as remembered by de Guzman and fellow immigrant friends in the neighborhood.
“The Tenderloin holds a unique, special place in my heart. It’s where I ‘grew up’ in the United States,” de Guzman says. She recalls the neighborhood as a place where she developed friendships with other young immigrants who were similarly struggling to find their place in a new home. The Tenderloin was also where de Guzman began her foray into the arts, painting her very first piece during an art day at the former Tenderloin YMCA.