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“Crossing Borders” at Altered Aesthetics

Blue Tract Home

Immigration is one of the critical issues of our time, and “Crossing Borders,” the new exhibit at Altered Aesthetics, brings artistic vision to this complex international phenomenon.

Minnesota photographers Anthony Marchetti and Laura Migliorino display photographic works from their series titled “Occidente Nuevo: Recycled Tijuana.”

Marchetti’s photos depict clearly how, since the 1940s, the Tijuana suburbs are being built with homes from San Diego that would have been demolished if left in the United States. Transported across the border and plopped on cement slabs, structures like “Blue Tract Home” become home to Tijuana’s new suburbanites.

Migliorino’s photos are composed as a diptych, with a shot of the building or other landmark on one side and an attached photo of the new owners on the other. The individuals and families, some smiling, face the viewer as if communicating directly with us and inviting us into their homes. This intimate connection between subject and viewer seems to establish a link across borders.

Maria Korol’s oil paintings are bold statements of color depicting almost life-sized immigrants from Colombia. As in Migliorino’s photos, Korol’s “Colombia Girl,” “Colombia Woman” and “Colombia Father and Daughter” stare proudly into our eyes, but unlike the photos, Korol’s figures aren’t smiling. There is a hardness to the women’s faces and, in the case of the father, signs of weariness. “Colombia Girl” wears a shirt that states: “Don’t Be Scared.” These figures seem to be simultaneously telling us about the fear and uncertainty of the immigration experience and proudly claiming their heritage. 

Many of the pieces in “Crossing Borders” make a principled statement about immigration—these works not afraid to say something socially responsible, rather than simply being self-referential works of art. This is an exhibit worth viewing. 

The exhibit runs through February 23rd and there will be an artists’ discussion at the gallery on February 18th from 1 to 3 p.m.

Altered Esthetics

1224 Quincy St NE


Hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays 1pm–7pm; Saturdays 1pm–5pm