EfrenAve’s figurative artwork is based on his own experiences and personal opinions, mostly about immigration and social issues in a sarcastic way with a touch of reality. In recent years EfrenAve has painted different series of images that, when put together, become interactive games. At play are the struggles of being part of the working class. Some of these series have a close relation to being part of this nation.
Our Lady of Liberty— a body of work that portrays Madonnas as USA employers, and Luchadores as the child who represents the many immigrant workers who come to this country looking for a better life. The Madonna is mother/protector of her children who helps them learn and grow up, similar to some employers who support hard-working staff, but who can also—like over protective mothers—make you feel trapped. However, there are bad mothers, just like there are bad employers who never like you and reject you, but continue to use you and abuse you.
EfrenAve understands that for Mexican people who grew up Catholic, the Madonna is a symbolic figure. The Luchador is also a cultural icon. They are both important in Mexican folklore. Although both symbols carry important significance for EfrenAve, they are reminiscent of Madonna and Child paintings by great renaissance painters, yet adapted to a modern role. EfrenAve believes that if the original Madonna and Child paintings were painted today, they would probably be dressed to represent our contemporary style of clothing. While the masks the Luchadores wear conceal their faces, the Madonnas’ provocative dresses are telling of our colorful times.
EfrenAve, was born in Michoacan Mexico. He immigrated to California in 1990 where he started a new life. In 2000 he started to take art classes at Foothill College, since that day EfrenAve has painted non-stop. He uses traditional oil and water based mediums to convey highly satirical and comical imagery surrounding issues of the borderland between the US and Mexico, as well as everyday experiences. His figurative paintings have captured the attention of many Bay Area collectors in recent years, for his ability to filter away the morass surrounding border politics to arrive at distilled images of humanity and truth. He has exhibited at MACLA, San Jose, Sanchez Art Center, Pacifica, Gallery 2902 in San Jose, and other local and national venues. He is part of the We Are You Project, traveling show.