The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
This article outlines the work of Texan Chicana artist Carmen Lomas Garza (b. 1948) from the 1970s through the late 1980s. It describes the subtle evolution in her work through her Monitos[Cartoons]series, which are stylized figures in social settings replete with signs of traditional Texan-Mexican culture. Ybarra-Frausto says that this ongoing series was born in 1972 from the artist’s early drawings and graphics and that it reached its culmination in the artist’s later full color gouache paintings. The Monitos series uses iconographic elements to communicate traditional narratives, acting as a visual version of an oral storytelling tradition. Ybarra-Frausto writes that, though Lomas Garza is an academically trained artist, her work evinces a strong affinity with popular art forms. He links this to the artist’s expressed interest in the work of self-taught artists and in the vernacular forms common in her Texas-Mexican community.
Tomás Ybarra-Frausto is an academic who has provided leadership in the area of Chicano art scholarship since the 1970s and who has influenced subsequent generations of disciples. This essay was published in the catalogue for Lomas Garza’s first solo museum exhibition at the Mexican Museum in San Francisco. In 1988, Lomas Garza was beginning her rise as one of the few Chicana artists to reach mainstream success. In the essay, Ybarra-Frausto posits the universal quality of her art while remaining culturally specific, validating the Chicano artist’s ability to create Chicano art within a mainstream context.