At Santa Clara's tmoro projects, Still Lifes Enter Other Dimensions

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Promotional image for 'Burn Notice' at tmoro projects. (Courtesy of tmoro projects)

In the garage and side yard of his small Santa Clara home, artist Takeshi Moro runs tmoro projects, a nonprofit gallery space boasting two to four shows a year. Because of its location, far from the busy streets of San Francisco, openings are the thing at tmoro -- and if it’s the right season, Moro serves orange wedges from the tree in his front yard.

Opening March 10 is a two-person show by Bay Area artists Marcela Pardo Ariza and Conrad Guevara (one-third of Bonanza) inspired by the still lifes of Fernando Botero (the Colombian painter famous for his rotund figures). In those paintings, watermelons, oranges and baskets of bread sit innocuously, cartoonishly, on wooden tables.

In Burn Notice, both artists set out to liberate the objects in Botero’s paintings from their traditional form and conservative interpretations. Pardo Ariza’s photographs replace Botero’s shapes with fiery collages, turning once tranquil scenes into violently blazing infernos. And Guevara’s graceful mobiles of everyday objects and painted surfaces are anything but still.

To find out if there's a connection between the exhibition and espionage (the term "burn notice," perhaps most recognizable as the title of the late-aughts USA Network show, refers to a note of dismissal by an intelligence agency), you'll have to show up in Santa Clara. As it turns out, this is the end of an era for tmoro projects: Burn Notice marks the last show before Moro moves his home and gallery to the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco.


'Burn Notice' is on view at tmoro projects in Santa Clara (1046 Sherman Street) March 10—April 7, 2018. For more information, click here.