Billboard Gallery: May 2022

Billboard Gallery: May 2022

The Holland Project’s Billboard Gallery showcases the work of exceptional emerging and established regional artists on billboards throughout Reno’s surface streets. Three new artists are installed every four weeks starting in January 2022. The May artists included Adam Benedict, Häsler R. Gómez, and Jahahi “Jahi” Mazariego.


#1 Location: Keystone & 2nd street

Artist: Adam Benedict
Artwork: A Bloom in Early Spring, layered fabric, thread, acrylic paint, ballpoint pen, 2022

Bio: Adam Benedict is an interdisciplinary artist from Reno, Nevada. Using layered textiles, embroidery, drawing, and printmaking he explores small but significant moments and locations, gender, sexuality, and personal spaces.

#2 Location: Wells Avenue & 2nd Street

Artist: Häsler R. Gómez
Artwork: UNTITLED (AMNESIA VII), Felix Gonzalez-Torres “Untitled” offset print from 1993, pages from the artist’s bible, letter written by the artist’s mother from an immigration detention center, painter’s tape, drywall tape, concrete, chicken wire, tar, enamel, 1993-2022
Website | Instagram

Bio: Häsler R. Gómez (h.r.g.) was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala in 1993, but has lived in the United States since the age of four. His work predominantly investigates issues of personal, political, and social desire, and probes the complexities and connections between language, history, immigration, gender, and oppression. Gómez holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently at Well Well Projects in Portland, OR; Baitball Art Fair in Polignano a Mare, Italy; Sierra Nevada University in Incline, NV; Other Places Art Fair in San Pedro, CA; Zygote Press in Cleveland, OH; Carnation Contemporary in Portland, OR; Axis Gallery in Sacramento, CA; and Trestle Gallery in Brooklyn, NY. Gómez currently works out of Reno, NV, and is a member of after / time collective based in Portland, OR.

Statement: As an artist whose work is steeped in secrecy, esoteric references, and a reductive visual language, a billboard at first, seems like the most unlikely venue for my work. But when thinking about billboards and their social as well as art historical contexts, I could not help but think of the billboard works of Félix González-Torres, an artist central to the lineage of my own practice and whose own work, while highly personal, utilized (post-)minimal visual strategies to express the nuances of his experiences.

In making this work, I layer an original offset print of Gonzalez-Torres’s alongside pages from my bible as well as a letter written by my mother from an immigration detention center. I stitched the various papers together and further abstracted their content with painters tape and drywall tape. I then casted the “collage” in concrete, to eviscerate its contents, however through the negative imprint it left in the surface of the concrete it continued to allude to both its conceptual and physical layers. To further bury the visual history of my source material, I hand rubbed tar into the surface of the concrete cast to create a new “image” that subtly conveys its underlying histories. My final billboard image is a detail of the resulting cast.

With these works I probe lost and erased histories as well as call into question how history is stitched together, compounded, and represented, but also how forgetting while destructive can allow space for creating and how by erasing my personal histories, I generate a space to embody loss and longing that stands outside direct visual representation and specific narratives.

I wanted to use this opportunity not to advertise anything, per say, but rather carve out a space within the sky that would be disruptive, contemplative, and even a little perplexing. “UNTITLED (AMNESIA VII)” is from the “MORNINGSTAR” series, which takes inspiration from the plight of the devil as an archetype for the experiences of marginalized peoples.

#3 Location: 4th Street & Valley Road

Artist: Jahahi “Jahi” Mazariego
Artwork: Elise La Lombriz, acrylic on wood, 2019
Website | Instagram

Bio: Jahahi “Jahi” Mazariego is a Salvadoran-American painter and social worker. She received a master’s degree in Social Work at the University of Nevada, Reno. She utilizes her professional experience and cultural identities to highlight the social issues among the Latinx and migrant communities in Northern Nevada. She has collaborated with several local organizations in creating community paintings where she creates a design on a blank canvas that is reflective of the cultural identities among the community members who utilize these organizations to meet their basic needs. She encourages community members to participate in filling the white canvas with vibrant colors. These paintings are displayed in their respective organizations or in the community where the representation of the Latinx identity is not always visible. 

Jahahi “Jahi” Mazariego es un pintor y trabajadora social salvadoreño-estadounidense. Recibió una maestría en Trabajo Social en la Universidad de Nevada, Reno. Ella utiliza su experiencia profesional e identidades culturales para resaltar los problemas sociales entre las comunidades latinas y migrantes en el norte de Nevada. Ha colaborado con varias organizaciones locales en la creación de pinturas comunitarias donde crea un diseño en un lienzo en blanco que refleja las identidades culturales entre los miembros de la comunidad que utilizan estas organizaciones para satisfacer sus necesidades básicas. Ella alienta a los miembros de la comunidad a participar en el llenado del lienzo blanco con colores vibrantes. Estas pinturas se exhiben en sus respectivas organizaciones o en la comunidad donde la representación de la identidad latina no siempre es visible.

Statement: For the last 7 years my artwork reflects my mourning period after my family experienced family separation due to U.S. immigration policies. In the upcoming weeks of my family separation, I was intentional in capturing photos of my niece of us simply existing with one another even if it was laying on my bed watching cartoons. Something we did on a daily basis. This painting is simply that, sharing space, a privilege that I dream to have again. Like many others in our community, family separation is a common occurrence. My hope is to create awareness that families in Northern Nevada deserve to enjoy the simple pleasures of visibility without fear. 

Durante los últimos 7 años, mi obra de arte refleja mi período de duelo después de que mi familia experimentó la separación familiar debido a las políticas de inmigración de los Estados Unidos. En las próximas semanas de mi separación familiar, tuve la intención de capturar fotos de mi sobrina de nosotros simplemente existiendo el uno con el otro, incluso si estaba acostada en mi cama viendo dibujos animados. Algo que hacíamos a diario. Esta pintura es simplemente eso, compartir espacio, un privilegio que sueño tener otra vez. Al igual que muchos otros en nuestra comunidad, la separación familiar es una ocurrencia común. Mi esperanza es crear conciencia de que las familias en el norte de Nevada merecen disfrutar de los placeres simples de la visibilidad sin miedo.

The HP Billboard Gallery was made possible by an Art Belongs Here Grant from the City of Reno Arts & Culture Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, generous donations from supporters like Temple Builders LLC, Brooks Family Dental, and Sierra Hearing Center, as well as the support and guidance of our partners with the Wells Ave. Merchants Association and Lamar Outdoor Advertising. Thank you!