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 Jerry De La Cruz  (1948 - )

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Lived/Active: Colorado      Known for: large-scale abstract figure, surrealism

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Jerry  De La Cruz
An example of work by Jerry De La Cruz
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Jerry De La Cruz is a Denver native who has steadfastly maintained his status as a professional fine artist for almost thirty years now.  His journey through the art world began in grade school in the predominately Hispanic neighborhood of North Denver.  By junior high school Jerry was already respected as an artist by his teachers and peers.  His early devotion to painting and photography began forging his personality and how he sees the world around him.  Jerry's potential so impressed his high school art teacher that he scrounged up funding to sponsor Jerry's visit to a university of arts and music in Kansas.  But the summer following his high school graduation in 1967, Jerry was drafted into the U.S. Army.

Returning from his three-year tour as a technician with the Signal Corps in Europe (where he was first introduced to early generation computer-based communication technology), Jerry used the GI bill to attend Rocky Mountain School of Art in Denver, now the Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design, where he graduated cum laude in 1973.  He also quickly jumped into a multitude of substrata's of the Denver art scene forming life-long relationships that would eventually help in the foundation of his work as an arts activist.  One of these led to the creation of 'Art in Action', Denver's first (and now oldest) art 'incubator' building, located across from the State Capitol at Colfax & Logan. This building would house Jerry's own studio for the next 27 years.

The mid-seventies found Jerry deeply involved in the world of traditional figurative art.  He was as often in Santa Fe and Taos as Denver, maintaining successful relationships with various galleries around the region.  In 1976 and again in 1977, Jerry was awarded back-to-back artist-in-residency grants from the state Arts Council.  He used this time to begin exploration in large-scale abstract works.  In 1980, Jerry joined a collector friend in a second studio to explore the world of abstract and color field paintings and over time developed his own unique style in that process.

By the late eighties, Jerry was with a completely different group of galleries, selling to a completely different set of collectors.  Again, he became a popular name that sold well, this time in the corporate world.  At the same time, Jerry began integrating his long time taste for the surreal with his new techniques and methods.  Between 1979 and 1989, Jerry created a series of large surreal works which to this day remain the body of work that truly defines him as an artist. Many have been featured in books, magazines and some prestigious touring and museum exhibits, but most remain in the artist's own collection.

In 1987, Jerry was invited to teach at the Art Students League of Denver and has been a vital part of its success to this day.  Two years later Jerry's career was to take another sharp turn.  He bought a Spanish-language radio station in Pueblo, Colorado and moved there to help run the station for six months.  This turned into eight years.  Throughout those eight years Jerry commuted weekly to Denver, where he maintained his studio, to teach at the League and participate in various exhibitions.

He brought his artistic skills as well as his earlier military electronics training to bear in running the station which received two Marconi nominations for Spanish Language Station of the Year.  The timing was incredible, as the world of broadcasting moved from DJ's spinning vinyl to CD's to satellite fed computers transmitting digitized music files.  Jerry experienced the digital revolution from the front line and returned to Denver in 1997 (having sold the station) eager to bring his art into the digital era.

Jerry is exploring digital manipulation of his photo and art images which have been exhibited and published internationally.

He is designing web sites, and is renovating a 4,000 square foot bar (built in 1913) off Santa Fe Drive as his new studio, a regional contemporary art exhibition space, and digital resource center for artists.  He sculpts up at the Marble/marble symposium in the summers, travels several months a year (working on multiple ongoing photography projects) and is expanding into three-dimensional assemblages and manipulated collage works.  He is still regularly discovering new and intriguing areas to explore.

"There are those in the art world who believe that an artist should devote him or herself to developing a single voice in their work. But, to me, in this bigger, broader and more complicated world, I'd rather experience it as a multi-linguist." So sums up Jerry De La Cruz.

Selected Solo Exhibitions:
2002 23rd Avenue Sculpture Gallery, Denver, CO
2001 New Lab Gallery, Denver, CO
1999 Grand Central Galleries, Denver, CO
1995 Denver Civic Theatre, Denver, CO
Sangre De Cristo Arts Center, Pueblo, CO
1990 Off Broadway Gallery, Pueblo, CO
Bluecreek/West Gallery, Denver, CO
1989 Dominion Plaza, Denver, CO
1987 Denver Federal Building, Denver, CO
1985 Foothills Art Center, Golden, CO
Criteria Gallery, Denver, CO
Race Street Gallery, Denver, CO
1984 Art Resources Gallery, Denver, CO
Griffon's Light Gallery, Denver, CO
1983 Amendola Gallery, New Haven, CT

Selected Group Exhibitions:
2002 The Art of the Martini, The Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO curator Liza Prall
El Museo de las Americas Presents Contemp. Hispanic Works, Wells Fargo Atrium Gallery, Denver
Forty Years of Passion, Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design, Denver, CO curator Stephen Steele
Denver Art Review, Abend Gallery, Denver, CO curator Christine Serr
Art & Architecture, Art Students League of Denver, Denver, CO curator Leona Lazar
Colorado Excellence in the Arts, Republic Plaza Galleries, Denver, CO curator Andra Archer
Of Work and Earth, Old Firehouse Art Center, Longmont, CO curator Melody Reeves
Sinapsis, Galeria Corriente Alterna, Lima, Peru curator Luis Lama
2001 The Figure in American Art 1950-2000, Center for Visual Arts, Denver, CO curator Sally Perisho
Muerte Sin Fronteras, Jose Peon Contreras Gallery, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico curator Gustavo Clavijo
Bringing the Dark Madonna to Light, Thacher Gallery, Univ. of San Francisco curator Thomas Lucas
A Taste of Others, Sangre de Cristo Art Center, Pueblo, CO curator Jina Pierce
Borderlands, Union of Friendship Societies, Khabarovsk, Russia curator George Rivera
Int'l Digital Art Awards Exhibit, Noosa Regional Gallery, Queensland, Australia
Chicano Invitational, Visual Arts Center, Boise, ID, curator Richard Young
For Adults Only, Eleven East Ashland Gallery, Phoenix, AZ, curator Kraig Foote
2000 National Photography Exhibit, Texas Artists Museum, Port Arthur, TX, juror Mark Low
Arte y Muerte, Casa de Tlaxcala Galleries, Mexico City, Mexico, curator Dr. George Rivera
Colorado Artist Fellowship Touring Exhibit, Cortez Art Center, Cortez; Western Center for the Arts, Grand Junction; Vail Arts Festival, Vail; Cherry Creek Arts Festival, Denver.
Les Amis d'Auvillar, William Havu Gallery, Denver, CO
Annual Juried Show, Pleiades Gallery, New York City, NY, member jury
American Drawing Biennial 7, Muscarelle Museum of Art, Williamsburg, VA, juror May Stevens
Explicit, Kougeas Gallery, Boston, MA, curator Pam Kougeas
Color Constructs, Colorado Photographic Art Center (3-person show), Denver, CO
Colorado 2000, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, CO
Works on and of Paper, University of West Florida, Pensacola, FL, juror Scip Barnhart
1999 The University Collects, Gallery of Contemporary Art, Univ. of Colo. at Colo. Springs, CO
Benefit Exhibit, El Museo de las Américas, Denver, CO, curator Tariana Navas-Nieves
Homage to Salvador Dali, Fraser Gallery, Washington, D.C., juror F. Lennox Campello
Figurative Small Works, Armory Art Center, West Palm Beach, FL, juror J. William Meek III
1998 Les Amis d'Auvillar, Auvillar Tourism Gallery, Auvillar, France curator Barbara Lencicki
1997 Zip 8100, Sangre de Cristo Arts Center, Pueblo, CO, curator Jennifer Cook
1996 Group Exhibit, Merrill Gallery, Denver, CO curator Nancy Steinfurth
1993-94 Chicano/Latino Art, Chapultepek Park, University of Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico; Galleria Otra Vez, Los Angeles, CA; San Jose Center for Latino Arts, San Jose, CA; Smokebrush Center for the Arts, Colorado Springs, CO; Stables Gallery, Taos, NM; Sixth Congress Gallery, Tucson, AZ; University of Colorado Art Galleries, Boulder, CO; Artes de Pueblo Gallery, Denver, CO, curator Dr. George Rivera
1993 Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Retrospective, Foothills Art Center, Golden, CO
Sangre Nueva, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, CO
1992 Sin Fronteras, Center for the Visual Arts, Denver, CO
Chicano Colorado, One West Contemporary Art Center, Ft. Collins, CO
1991-92 Celebrating the Art of Clean Air, Loveland Art Museum, Loveland, CO; Beidleman Environmental Center, Colorado Springs, CO; Foothills Arts Center, Golden, CO
1989 Living Arts, Kennedy Center for the Arts, Washington, D.C., curator Paul T. Kay
Expresiones Hispanas, Center for Fine Arts, Miami, FL; Millicent Rogers Museum, Taos, NM; Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara, CA; Arvada Center for the Arts, Arvada, CO; Southwest Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Mexican Cultural Institute, San Antonio, TX, curator Maureen A'Costa
1988 Self Portraits, Arvada Center for the Arts, Arvada CO curator Michael Crane
1987 Group Exhibit, Sheila Nussbaum Gallery, Princeton, NJ
Capitol Hill, Robischon Gallery, Denver, CO curator Jim Robischon
1986 Art Works, Denver City & County Building, Denver, CO
Prisoners of Conscience, Arvada Center for the Arts, Arvada, CO curator Michael Crane Regional Artists, Close Range Gallery, Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO curator Dianne Vanderlip
1985 Group Exhibit, Criteria Gallery, Denver, CO curator Amala Hanke
1984 Take Stock in Denver, RTD Civic Center, Denver, CO
Group Exhibit, Emmanuel Gallery at Auraria, Denver, CO
1983 Pastel Society of America, New York, NY
Dance, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Denver, CO
1981 East Meets West, Harriett Tubman Gallery, Boston, MA
1980 Group of Five, Aldridge Gallery, Albuquerque, NM

Selected Honors:
2002 Selected for 'SlideJam' presentation at Museum of Contemporary Art - Denver, Denver, CO
2001 Chosen (Unpublished Category) for American Illustration 20, New York, NY
Top 100 Finalist in Int'l Digital Art Competition, Digital Photography Magazine, Sydney, Australia
Named one of 36 most influential Colorado artists of century by Denver Post, Denver, CO
2000 Recipient of Visual Arts Fellowship in Painting from Colorado Council on the Arts
Best of show, Annual Photography Competition, Jan Pelton Gallery, Denver, CO
Second & Third Place Awards, Annual Nat'l Competition, Texas Artists Museum, Port Arthur, TX
Best of show, Native Cultures Competition,
1999 Elected to Board of Directors of Art Students League of Denver as Faculty Liaison
1998 Nominated for Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship, San Francisco Art Institute
Grant recipient for summer residency in Auvillar, France, Art Students League of Denver
1993 Invited artist for Denver Art Museum Centennial Celebration Exhibit
1991 Work selected for publication and purchase, American Lung Association, Kinder Morgan, Inc.
1988 Awarded "Best Art Event of Year" by Westword newspaper, Denver, CO
Commissioned for large site-specific painting for lobby of new offices, Travelers Ins., Denver, CO
First runner-up for large site-specific mural for corporate headquarters, US West, Denver, CO
1987 One of fifty artists selected nationwide for touring exhibit, Adolph Coors Foundation, Golden, CO
1986 Major work purchased by Denver Art Museum for Permanent Contemporary Collection
Directed large mural project via Art Reach, Williams Center, Denver, CO
Major works leased via Commission on Cultural Affairs for display in City & County Bldg, Denver
1982 Selected work for Art-in-Public-Places purchase, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
1983 Selected artist for exhibition, Pastel Society of America, New York, NY
1982 Best of show in Dance Photography Competition, Denver Center for the Performing Arts
1979 Commissioned for large painting for lobby, Theatre Under Glass, Denver, CO
1977-78 Two-time recipient of Artist-in-Residency Grants from Colorado Council on the Arts

Selected Catalogues:
2002 Of Work and Earth, Design Source, Longmont, CO, color
2001 Muerte Sin Fronteras, Instituto de Cultura de Yucatan, Merida Mexico, color
Borderlands, Far East Development Foundation, Khabarovsk, Russia, color
2000 Twentieth Anniversary Art Auction Catalogue, Colo. Lawyers for the Arts, Denver, CO, b&w Colorado 2000, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, CO b&w
1995 Profile, Sangre de Cristo Arts Center, Pueblo, CO b&w
1993 Artists for Colorado's Youth, Colorado Alliance of Business, Denver, CO b&w
1992 Chicano/Latino Art (touring exhibition), University of Colorado, color
Chicano Colorado, One West Contemporary Art Center, Ft. Collins, CO b&w
1991 Celebrating the Art of Clean Air (Calendar), American Lung Association, Denver, CO color
1990 Art Market, Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities, Arvada, CO b&w
1989 Sin Fronteras (touring exhibition), University of Colorado, color
1988 Expresiónes Hispanas (touring exhibition), Adolph Coors Company, color
1987 Art Barn One, Denver Art Museum/Art Barn, Inc., Denver, CO b&w
1986 Prisoners of Conscience, Arvada Center for the Arts, Arvada, CO b&w
Another Great Love Affair, Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO b&w
1985 Imagenes, Arvada Center for the Arts, Arvada, CO b&w

2002 Contemporary Chicana & Chicano Art featured artist, Bilingual Press, ASU, Tempe, AZ color book
They Magazine - feature article, cover and featured art, Denver, CO color
2001 Visual Art Trends - review & featured art, New York City, NY color
Digital Photography & Design Magazine - featured art, Yaffa Publishing Group, Sydney, Australia, color
Urban Spectrum Magazine - review & cover art, Denver, CO color
2000 New Mexico Photographer Magazine featured art, Eastern New Mexico University, b&w
Exhibit 2000 Invitation Cover Art, Art Students League of Denver, Denver, CO color
Native Cultures Invitation Cover Art, Wonders of the West, Durango, CO color
1999 Impressions '99 Invitation Cover Art, Art Students League of Denver, Denver, CO color
Studio C 2000 Calendar, KBCO Radio, Boulder, CO color
1990 Conflict Management Book, Anschutz Foundation/Mile High United Way, Denver, CO b&w
1989 KVOD Classical Radio Magazine Cover Art, Denver, CO color
1988 Center Magazine Cover Art, Arvada Center for the Arts, Arvada, CO color
1986 Chicano Humanities & Arts Council Reporter Cover Art, Denver, CO b&w
1985 Center Magazine Cover Art, Arvada Center for the Arts, Arvada, CO color

2001-Pres Member, Board of Directors, Invisible Museum, Denver, CO
2001-Pres Member, Board of Directors, Marble/Marble Institute, Denver, CO
1999-Pres Member, Board of Directors, Art Students League of Denver, Denver, CO
1987-2001 Faculty member of Art Students League of Denver (one class per week)
1990-97 Owner & operator of bilingual (Spanish) radio station KRMX, Pueblo, CO
1973 Graduated with honors from Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design, Denver, CO
1948 Born, second of four children, Denver, CO

Selected Review Excerpts:
"This drawn line is a good place to start in appreciating the virtuoso skills of Denver surrealist Jerry De La Cruz . . . [He] has developed a line steeped in classicism reminiscent of the work of Leonardo da Vinci. This pure, agile line turns up repeatedly in De La Cruz' paintings."
Betsy Howard, Denver Magazine December, 1987

"[De La Cruz's] work is an excellent example of the thought process that is often missing in the digital works based on styles of the past. The message of this piece is patently clear, and the artist's use of an easily identified, historical subject has a purpose which goes beyond aesthetics."
Julia Ptasznik, Visual Arts Trends Quarterly (New York, NY) June, 2001

"This precocious blend of real and imagined images suggests some of the early work of Dali. The illusion is so real that it is quite believable. . . He does not, whatever his medium or style, fill up either page or canvas with non-essentials."
Shirley Gonzales, New Haven Register May 1, 1983

"The painting teases the viewer's mind without serving up explanations. . . It's unsettling. . . De La Cruz has a wealth of technical expertise at his disposal, and his work is almost invariably intriguing. . . . De La Cruz can be very good."
Lyman Pitman, The Pueblo Chieftain May 20, 1990

"De La Cruz . . . is constantly changing his work, defying the pigeonholers. . . He doesn't usually use the traditional Hispanic elements that others use. . . His canvases sometimes show keen humor."
David McQuay, The Denver Post May 2, 1989

"De La Cruz, who is equally comfortable with representational and abstract art, doesn't consider himself to have any particular political or sociological bent."
Irene Rawlings, The Denver Post October 2, 1988

"The pieces in the [De La Cruz] show . . . are humorous and brilliant in their ability to convey messages . . . It is wrong to categorize [the artist] as monolithically Hispanic in his art. For he is universal, and the language of his art can be understood in any tongue."
Raymond Dean Jones, The Urban Spectrum (Denver, CO) May, 2001

"De La Cruz' shifting connections are intelligent and lyrical. . . . Some of his paintings and photos are so delicate that they're painful; some reflect a bold muralist's melodrama. . . [T]hey require and deserve deep, unconditional scrutiny into the relationship of illusion and reality."
Jennifer Heath, Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO) September 25, 1987

"His oil paintings, acrylic paintings and mixed media collages are vivid and impressive. . . . Some of the images in his paintings can be described as unusual. . . Other images are simply beautiful."
Jodi Wetuski, Pueblo Chieftain July 6, 1995

"De La Cruz's mastery of formal and experimental techniques reflects a career dedicated to creative probing and discipline. It is rare indeed to come into contact with an artist who so successfully ranges from abstraction to surrealism in single canvases. Themes of personal identity and interpersonal responsiveness are layered into his work, allowing the viewer to share in the artist's process of questioning the relationships of his subjects to the world. The insights that develop in his works are universal in their ability to connect the reflective with the informative."
Joaquín Alvarado, Contemporary Chicana & Chicano Art Bilingual Press, Tempe, AZ, 2002

"Working in oil, De La Cruz' sparkling coloration rings true and his deft brushwork builds an articulate line quality that fleshes out his characters into fully realized individuals, their symbolic quality still intact."
Nancy Clegg, Westword Magazine (Denver, CO) May 16, 1984

Information provided by Diane Young.

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