AIR_(space) Project at UL

Cristina Molina + Jonathan Traviesa

May 15 – June 15, 2021

Florida Flags (from the Sad Tropics series), Archival pigment print on flag fabric

This series of 5 flags created by artists Cristina Molina + Jonathan Traviesa, will be raised in rotation and change each week of the exhibition.  Originally exhibited as part of a photo + video installation titled, Sad Tropics, these flag works explore the idea of “utopian escape” and signify the “psychological landscape of paradise.” The exhibition’s title was inspired by Claude Levi-Strauss’s book Tristes Tropiques, and was featured in Art in America and BURNAWAY.

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About the Artists: 

Cristina Molina is a visual artist who hails from the subtropics of Miami and currently lives and works in New Orleans—two precarious terrains that have thematically influenced her practice. Spanning performance, video installation, photography, and textile design, Molina’s artwork is set amongst vulnerable landscapes both real and imagined. Using the language of magical realism, her artworks reshape and centralize little-known narratives to upend dominant histories. 

Molina’s projects have been supported by the National Association for Latino Arts and Culture, The Foundation for Contemporary Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Last year, Molina was one of 61 artists selected for the national exhibition State of the Art 2020 at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Previously, her work has been featured at the New Orleans Museum of Art, Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, The Polk Museum, New Orleans Film Festival, and Syros International Film Festival.  From 2014-20 Molina was a member of the New Orleans artist-run project, The Front where she regularly curated artwork, and co-organized The Front’s annual juried film festival. Cristina Molina is Associate Professor and Gallery Director at Southeastern Louisiana University where she received the 2018 President’s Award for Excellence in Artistic Activity and is the current recipient of the Viola Brown Endowed Professorship in Visual Arts and Dramatic Arts.  

Jonathan Traviesa is a photographer and artist living in New Orleans since the late 1990s, and has been teaching photography at Tulane University for the last five years. He has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in New Orleans, Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, and Tokyo. Traviesa is a founding member of The Front gallery and released his first book, “Portraits” with a concurrent exhibition at The Front during October and November of 2009. As part of Photonola, Traviesa received the New Orleans Photo Alliance’s inaugural Michael P. Smith Grant Award, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art exhibited a selection of his portraits from the book. His work is collected publicly at the Ogden and at The New Orleans museum of Art and privately at the Jimmy Club, The Saratoga Collection, and The Paramount Building.