Occidente Nuevo

The exhibition Occidente Nuevo plays off Robert Adams’s seminal series The New West, a stunning photo essay about newly developed tract homes that sprang up throughout the barren western landscape during the mid 1970s. In an ironic departure from Adams, this work captures a new west created from the debris of what has now become the old west. Housing developments in Tijuana, Mexico are being created through re-use of old housing stock from the San Diego area. The process of relocating entire houses and cast-off housing debris has been occurring over recent decades, resulting in several Tijuana neighborhoods built almost entirely out of recycled architecture. These homes have been passed down generation-to-generation, and inhabited with pride.

The project Occidente Nuevo weaves together concepts present in both artists’ previous work: Migliorino’s interest in suburbia and the impact of sprawl, and Marchetti’s exploration of relationships and interactions between humans and their built and natural environments. Marchetti and Migliorino have approached the Tijuana project as a collaborative team, traveling together and often shooting the same homes and families who reside there. Migliorino creates portraits of the families living in these recycled homes while Marchetti photographs structural exteriors, creating images that present a unique and sometimes surreal architectural beauty. The relationship between their photographs is powerful, and works in tandem. These Tijuana suburbs exemplify an Occidente Nuevo, a New West development of suburbia created through re-use. Migliorino’s photographs put a human face on these recycled homes; Marchetti presents an architecturally nuanced record of how humans build, deconstruct, and reconstruct spaces in which they live and work, and how culture, expediency, and financial resources influence what is considered trash or treasure, waste or opportunity.

Visit the artists’ websites at anthonymarchetti.com and www.lauramigliorinoart.com.