Charles Dee Mitchell
Charles Dee Mitchell, writes in Art in America: "Jiménez's
work creates a world where raucousness and pathos hold equal
sway, where pointed social commentary coexists with a feel
for the heroic dimension of everyday lives. His figurative
style is a distinctive blend of sinewy Baroque forms and cartoonlike,
Pop energy" (1999, p. 100).
John Yau writes that "
that the present is connected to both the past and the future.
The past influences and defines the present, while the present
helps define and determine what the future will be. In his
art, Jiménez does not isolate one event or period of
time from another. For him, history is a fluid, constantly
changing continuum made up of many, often conflicting stories.
Jiménez tries to discover what is basic to all of us
in any single story
" (1994, p. 46).
John Beardsley writes that "Jiménez wields a torch
and a paint sprayer with every bit as much skill as he displays
in his extraordinary draftsmanship" (1987, p. 75).
Shifra M. Goldman
Shifra M. Goldman places Luis Jiménez' work within
four different art traditions: "The sensibility of Luis
Jiménez can actually he located on four distinct artistic
sources: Pop art, New Figuration (both of the sixties), Mexican
social realist muralism and the New Deal artists it influenced
(twenties and thirties), and the aesthetic rasquachismo which
is particularly Chicano and harks back to even older traditions
in Mexican communitites of the Southwest" (1994, p. 7).
Goldman describes rasquachismo as "the ironic, satirical
or sardonic exaggerations and humor [of an outsider]"
(1994, p. 8).
Lucy Lippard writes about a more subtle side of Jiménez
work: "Jiménez is a knowledgeable admirer of western
flora and fauna. Eagles, wolves, and coyotes share the stage
with his legendary figures and the ground from which most
of them rise is teaming with plants, flowers, reptiles, and
small animals, whose persistent fertility suggests the seeds
of new legends" (1990, pp. 120-121).
Lucy Lippard offers
an evocative description of Jiménez' artwork: "Like
lava, indeed, the gleaming bulk of his work seems caught in
the act of flowing, like time or history itself, embodying
an exuberance and even excess that is most certainly foreign
to postmodern art with its plethera of anxieties and skepticisms.
Jiménez often manages to have his cake and eat it too,
to put a satiric edge on an image that also pulls the heartstrings
of emotional memory. There is a sinuous and sensuous rhythm
to everything he makes" (1994, p. 37).
According to Lippard
an unlikely rumor was started associating the Southwest Pieta
with the 16th century rape of a Native American (Tiguex) woman
by Coronado's men. The rumor contributed to the controversy
that ultimately concluded with the sculpture being installed
in the Martineztown barrio of Albuquerque instead of in Tiguex
Park, for which is was commissioned and designed (Lippard,
1994, p. 28).
Dave Hickey writes: "To put it simply, Luis Jimenez has,
in his own way, given the culture that nurtured him back to
itself. He has revivified the tradition of Mediterranean image-making
and restored its faded glory by re-imagining it in contemporary
terms and materials-remolding and redrawing the popular graphics
and folk artifacts of his childhood in El Paso-enlivening
that idiom with the dash of Pop Art, while simultaneously
re-examining its historical roots in the streets and churches
of Rome. Specifically, Jiménez has created his new-old
art by fullfilling, in the second half of the 20th century,
the 17th-century dream of artists like Carravagio and Bernini:
to unite painting and sculpture in delicately balanced, dramatically
cantilevered, free-standing objects that retain the transparent
luminosity of oil painting" (p. 8).
According to James Moore "Indeed, dispute arose not because
the public couldn't understand a work of contemporary art,
but because they could" (1994, p. vii).
Ellen J. Landis
Ellen J. Landis, curator of the 1994 Man of Fire Exhibition
wrote: "It is a rare occasion that the Albuquerque Museum
has the opportunity to present a major retrospective of an
artist of the stature and communicative power of Luis Jiménez.
Jiménez's work speaks to people, but it does not speak
in a soft voice.
. Arts organizations throughout the
country are facing an uncertain future, and the current political
climate appears to be encouraging an increasingly conservative
attitude toward the arts in general. It is therefore especially
admirable that the Albuquerque City Council approved the special
appropriation to enable the museum to develop an exhibition
on a major artist's work which has been the subject of much
controversy both locally and nationally" (1994, p. v).
Jiménez' work she wrote: "It is American; it is
North American; it is Latin American; it is universal."
(1994, p. v).
Jane Livingston, Chief Curator of the Corcoran Gallery of
Art in Washington, DC., compared Jiménez work to other
Chicano artists who depict more urban subject matter: "Jimenez
has invented a distinctive narrative voice, the visual language
of the rural southwestern Chicano experience, the culture
of the border crossing, the Texas dance hall, the Chicano
cowboy" (1987, p. 105).