Artists Josué Pellot and Héctor Arce-Espasas embed the tropical color and festive imagery of their native Puerto Rico with a critique of tourism's myth of Paradise, a modern manifestation of colonialism. Featuring both individual and collaborative works, Pellot and Arce-Espasas play upon their shared heritage to investigate national identity, international commerce, and the pleasures connoted by views of the exotic tropics. In one collaboration, Arce-Espasas layers neon-hued graffiti palm fronds and pineapples upon Pellot's choreographed portraits of provocatively posed Latinas on horses, embellishing sexuality with the heat of an equatorial paradise. Illuminated pineapples become the embodiment of culture, transubstantiating the subject's body into that of a delectable fruit. Both artists struggle with the alchemy responsible for transforming culture into consumable tourist objects. Their photographs, paintings, and installations express a desire to unravel the meaning of cultural objects and the dissemination of those meanings throughout the global marketplace.
Pellot currently resides in Chicago. He received his MA from Northwestern University and his BFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Pellot has received attention through a number of solo exhibitions, among them: Universidad Catolica De Puerto Rico, Ponce, Puerto Rico; Museo de Arte de Caguas, Caguas, Puerto Rico; Chicago Cultural Center; and Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago. His work has been included in group exhibitions at: Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, San Juan, Puerto Rico; Contemporary Art Society, London; Vane Contemporary, Newcastle, England; and National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago.
Arce-Espasas currently lives and works in New York. He received his MFA from Hunter College and his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Arce-Espasas had his first solo exhibition at Lloyd Dobler Gallery, Chicago. His work has been included in exhibitions at: Don't Projects, Paris; Vane Contemporary, Newcastle, England; Museu da Cidade, Lisbon; Contemporary Art Society, London; Galeria Candela, San Juan, Puerto Rico; The Swiss Institute, New York; and Betty Rymer Gallery, Chicago.