D-L Alvarez / MATRIX 243 and the loss of innocence at the The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

D-L Alvarez: The Closet #13 and #14, 2006–07; graphite on paper; 17 ½ x 21 ¼ in. each; courtesy of Derek Eller Gallery, New York.

D-L Alvarez’s first solo museum exhibition presents a haunting meditation on the violent end of innocence. Alvarez, an Oakland-based artist, focuses on the uncanny moments when social and domestic deviance collide. 

In Alvarez’s drawing series, The Closet (2006–07), we see an abstracted image of Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode in Halloween (1978), repelling the attacks of a masked psychopath while trapped in a closet. The character’s expression of horror is echoed by the drawings’ highly fractured compositions, which appear to be the result of some kind of electronic interference or degraded technology. 

The Closet is shown with Something to Cry About I and II (2007), patchwork bodysuits made of children’s clothing arranged over wooden armatures. The ominous draping is both vulnerable and sinister, evoking the footed pajamas of cartoon-addled kids as well as the grisly outfits and other mementoes that the notorious murderer Ed Gein fashioned out of corpses’ skins. 

With these two projects Alvarez explores the aesthetic guises that sometimes mask unspeakable horrors. His drawings and sculptures conjure the psychic breaks that both constitute and disrupt identity. 

MATRIX 243 is organized by Assistant Curator Dena Beard. The MATRIX Program at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is made possible by a generous endowment gift from Phyllis C. Wattis and the continued support of the BAM/PFA Trustees