Rosas y Nopales was a site-specific installation designed for BEST PRACTICE and the surrounding neighborhood. Using found objects, live plants, preserved roses, recycled cardboard, wood, and video, de la Torre interprets the location of the gallery to find and share an inclusive meaning within the surrounding community.
With roses, cactus, and mud as central themes, de la Torre embraces southwestern motifs, drawing visual references to an older California. These visual cues emerge through the cardboard theater and direct the installation in a loose narrative, whose story merges ideas of contemporary art, theater, ritual, and local history in the spirit of folk traditions. Re-using various framing conventions and sculptural concepts, de la Torre builds theaters constructed from recycled cardboard and re-claimed wood, an idea originating with toy theaters. Some materials are found in the street, becoming inspiration and context. These framing devices help locate a scene in the proscenium and provides sculptural opportunities to tell a story.
Born in Tijuana, Baja California and raised in Chula Vista, CA, Armando de la Torre enlisted in the Army, serving with the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, NC with assignments in Germany and Korea. He attended the School of Visual Arts in New York, Santa Monica College of Design, Art and Architecture, and Otis College of Art and Design. He is interested in environmental justice, indigenous rights, local and California history, and cinema. He is a teaching artist with The San Diego Guild of Puppetry and is currently on a neighborhood tour with The Fern Street Circus.
This project would not have been possible without the generous support of the following artists: Isaias Crow, Jorge Mendoza, Brent Langieri, Elijah Rubottom, amd Amanda Chisolm.