Hector Dionicio Mendoza
White Wilderness/Maleza Blanca


DATES: August 31 - November 3, 2019

RECEPTION: September 13, 2019

Visiting Info

Artist Info

Dionicio Mendoza takes an ethno-botanist approach to art-making. His most recent body of work, White Wilderness/Maleza Blanca, explores the intersection of photography, drawing, digital printing, installation and sculpture. Mendoza’s work is created by carefully collecting, drying and pressing various species of flora samples between pages of heavy books. Once the samples are dried and flatten, he utilizes the samples as stencils that are methodically arranged and layered onto a surface (e.g., concrete, wood, paper, cardboard) and sprayed with aerosol paint. Some of the themes that surface in “White Wilderness/Maleza Blanca” range from environmental concerns to issues of cheap labor, immigration, and human violence.

Mendoza’s work offers a counter narrative to the view of wilderness as a pristine sanctuary, separate from human civilization. Instead, Mendoza portrays the wilderness as the unsafe spaces, where historically, people of color have disappeared, been murdered, kidnapped, lynched or raped. The work serves as reminder that the descriptions of wilderness often overlook the complex historical relationship between landscape and people of color. Moreover, Mendoza’s bleached foliage in his “White Wilderness” series also reflects the parched terrain visible all around us as a result of the ongoing draught.

In conjunction with the White Wilderness.Maleza Blanca series, Mendoza also created, Humano (+), a series of 3D figures using organic matter. Humano (+), was fabricated by combining organic and man-made materials such as cardboard, concrete, styrofoam, lichen, bark, branches, mud and insects. This work reminds us that the line between humankind and nature is blurry. We may transform nature, but we also dwell in, and are made from it. Mendoza draws inspiration from a series of hand-crafted, ritual masks that his grandfather, a practicing Yoruba curandero, gifted him along with a journal of botanical healing recipes in hope that he would continue the family tradition.

Essay By Donna Conwell