Self Portrait with Smoking Mirror
Acrylic, collage wood
12″ x 18″
“Self Portrait with Smoking Mirror” is constructed as an icon. The mirror’s reflection is a robotic, mask-like skull, behind which is a fiery night sky. The handle of the mirror is a part vertebra, part jagged syringe, which says that for Raya death is always present, a demon haunting in the shape of addiction.
The Anguish of Being
Acrylic on canvas
Marcos Raya was born in Mexico in 1948 and moved to Chicago in 1964. Raya has never shied away from confrontation or controversy. Ambitious in scope and technique, he weaves together past and present realities of Mexican-American life. He produces work at all ends of the scale, from room-sized installation to intimate objects—icons, collages, paintings, sculptures, drawings, and photographs—using a mix of media with inventiveness and wit.
Raya’s struggle with substance abuse led to depictions of the drug trade’s effect on the Latino community of Chicago. Among these are portraits of friends who died of their addictions. Other works explore sexual relationships, the mystique of Frida Kahlo, Mexican folklore, the aesthetics of technology, and street life on the South Side.