Brian Maguire in ‘Demise’

The Galleries at Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH, USA

31 August – 5 October 2018

Brian Maguire, Brenda Berenice Costillo Garcia, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 71 x 55 cm / 28 x 21.7 in. Brenda Berenice Costillo Garcia worked for Philips making electrical harnesses up to the time her pregnancy began to show. Contrary to the laws of Mexico she was let go because of the pregnancy. She stayed with her mother until a month after her boy Kevin was born. In 2009 age 17, she travelled by bus into the centre of Juarez to look for work in a jewellery store. She disappeared that day and has never been seen since. Her mother found the investigation to be non-existent. Holding out hope for the past two years, this was undermined when Brenda’s clothes were found with a dozen female remains in a body dump outside Juarez in Februrary 2012. The family await the results of DNA testing.

Brian Maguire, Rubi Marisol Frayre Escobedo, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 41 x 31 cm / 16.1 x 12.2 in. Rubi Marisol Frayre Escobedo, 16 years old, is the daughter of Marisela Escobeda Ortiz. She was killed in June 2009 in Ciudad Chihuahua. The young girl’s partner Sergio Barraza admitted the killing and brought the police to her body. At trial Sergio retracted the confession citing torture and he was released. A week later Marisela was protesting outside the Courts of Justice in the centre of Ciudad Chihuahua when late in the evening a man emerged from a white car and after exchanging a few words with her followed her into the street and shot her dead. Over the next few days her family members were threatened, her partners’ business was burnt and one member killed. After the funeral her family fled Chihuahua to the USA, where they now have been granted asylum.

Brian Maguire, Erika Perez Escobedo, 2012, acrylic on linen, 81.5 x 73 cm / 32.1 x 28.7 in. Erika Perez Escobedo was 29 years of age and married with two children when she was killed. She worked in a factory making harnesses for cars. Her body was found in the street with her clothes disturbed and her bra around her neck. There was evidence of rape. There were strangulation marks on her neck. The police immediately judged the cause of death to be a drug overdose. No investigation followed.

The Galleries at Cleveland State University will launch its 2018-19 season with the presentation of “Demise,” a powerful meditation on the meaning of life and death, curated by artist John L. Moore. The show, featuring the work of six prominent contemporary artists, will run August 31 through October 5 at the Galleries’ downtown location in Playhouse Square, 1307 Euclid Avenue.


Artists in the exhibit include Rina Banerjee, Esperanza Cortés, Jae Rhim Lee, Brian Maguire, Paolo Pelosini and Levent Tuncer and will include Lee’s Infinity Burial Project, Maguire’s portraits of the women of Juarez, Mexico and Tuncer’s Jinndom series.


The exhibit is inspired by three major paintings on death held in the collections of the Cleveland Museum of Art including Albert Pinkham Ryder's The Race Track (Death On A Pale Horse), Pablo Picasso's La Vie, and Anselm Kiefer's Lot's Wife. Cleveland Museum of Art curators Reto Thuering, curator of contemporary art, and William Robinson, curator of modern European paintings, are engaged in the exhibition and contributors to the exhibition catalogue. The exhibition also reintroduces two artists with Cleveland connections, Paolo Pelosin, a former faculty member at The Cleveland Institute of Art and Rina Banerjee a graduate of Case Western Reserve University.

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