After creating “Make ’Em All Mexican” I wanted to produce simpler images. I began this process by asking myself, “What would my brown image look like if I were a minimalist painter?” The result was The Brown Dot Project, a set of “data pictographs” on gridded architectural vellum in which brown dots represent statistics. The works reflects Latino population numbers, professionals in the health, education, and legal sectors, and US gross national product data.
Critic and curator Peter Frank suggested that I offer my art, “if not as a tool for change, then at least as an examination of the factors that necessitate such change, a passionate argument guided not only by reason, but by humor, craft, and beauty.”
I continued to use data for my next series, Datos Sagrados, painted works on circular handmade paper influenced by the golden ratio. They speak to the close relationship between mathematics, beauty, truth, and international indigenous beliefs.
Critic and curator Shana Nys Dambrot notes: “By taking a simple mathematical process that connects to her own experience, Vallejo has generated a rarefied language of mark-making that is only brown paint on paper, and yet comprises a wealth of holistic meaning from the deeply personal to the political, spiritual, philosophical, and psychological.”
Cultural Enigma broadens the focus to address the politics of culture. These works ask whether culture exists and, if so, why it is important in our lives, how we present ourselves culturally, and what symbols and signs we choose to signify our cultural presence, if any.
For Brown Oscars curator Erin M. Curtis states, “Brown Oscars is a satire of Hollywood’s racial politics, calling out the lack of visible representation for Latinx people as well as the longstanding practice of casting white people in Latinx roles.”
She continues to say, “Approaching these difficult and often divisive subjects with humor, playfulness, and curiosity, the artist invites viewers into what she calls a “comfortable space where . . . stories surface about the divisions caused by our differences and the possibility of unity through our similarities.”