SMU’s Pollock Gallery Presents COLLECTIVE

Featuring works by Juan Cruz and Fred Villanueva, Aug. 22-Oct. 10, 2020

DALLAS (SMU) -- The Pollock Gallery of SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts will present COLLECTIVE, an exhibition featuring works by Dallas-based artists Fred Villanueva and Juan Cruz of Ash Studios, from August 22 through October 10, 2020. COLLECTIVE is curated by Pollock Gallery Director Sofia Bastidas Vivar; exhibition design was a collaboration between the artists and the curator. Due to the pandemic, the Pollock, now located in the east campus of SMU, is open by appointment only; to arrange a visit, email or contact Fred Villanueva at

Villanueva is co-founder of Ash Studios, a community arts center near Fair Park where artists and local residents collaborate, experiment and explore cultural and political ideas. The show at the Pollock mirrors the collective nature of Ash Studios and the work that Cruz and Villanueva undertake there. The show features four paintings by Cruz and 11 by Villanueva, along with two Villanueva sculptures that are prototypes for public art projects. Two of Villanueva’s paintings are accompanied by digital topographic prints on paper that represent Indigenous archeological sites. The works embody the artists’ interest in the city as a space for collective learning and creation, particularly the making of art that is scalable and architecturally relevant, including murals and public art projects. Their works at the Pollock reflect on geography, three-dimensionality and accessibility.

Some of the design elements of the exhibition also recall Ash Studios’ space. At Ash, colored paper is provided for members of the public to use in art creation. At the Pollock, that same colored paper is hung on the walls as a backdrop for the mounted paintings; in addition, some of the paper is set aside for Pollock visitors’ art experimentation.

In a similar vein to Ash Studios, the Pollock Gallery provides a space for critical engagement with art and pedagogy. “The COLLECTIVE exhibition also acts as a working space where collective making is questioned and studied as a very primal instinct of building together,” said Bastidas Vivar. “It reflects on the possibilities embedded within the network of creatives who come in and out of the studio space as well as the gallery space, and what they can offer to the city around more scalable and long-term approaches to art.”

About the artists:

The conceptually driven practice of Fred Villanueva (b. 1973) integrates architectural and environmental concerns with social practice collaborations and multidisciplinary art. He creates large-scale paintings, sculptures and time-based installations, often combining images with abstract and figurative styles. He has exhibited in New York City and across the U.S., internationally in Madrid and Rotterdam, and more recently at the New Orleans Museum of Art, Delurk Gallery in North Carolina, Artes de La Rosa Cultural Center in Fort Worth, and Mary Tomas Gallery and Latino Cultural Center in Dallas. Current major projects include the ongoing development of Ash Studios, a monumental scale social practice art project in Dallas. Additionally, in collaboration with numerous artists, Villanueva is engaged in creating monumental scale street art and painting to beautify the city and inspire thousands of Dallasites from all walks of life. A participant in the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture’s Community Artist Program since its inception, and in its ArtsActivate grantmaking competition, he has consistently delivered impact-making and provocative art projects for the Dallas community through workshops such as “Empowering Words,” an ongoing mural painting program in which hundreds of residents have participated. In 2019 he was one of six artists selected for a community development grant funded by Ignite/Arts Dallas, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts/CultureBank, and TACA.

Dallas-born Juan Cruz creates sculptures, paintings and drawings. He has exhibited at Brookhaven College, Richland College, 500X, the Latino Cultural Center, Ash Studios, Texas Wesleyan University, Mary Tomas Gallery in Dallas, the University of North Texas (UNT) and at Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence, Italy. Cruz received his B.F.A. from UNT in Denton and is represented by Mary Tomas Gallery. He is also an active collaborator at Ash Studios.  

About Ash Studios:

Founded in 2012 by Fred Villanueva and Darryl Ratcliff, Ash Studios is a creative response to the racial segregation, political disenfranchisement, and economic displacement that is the reality for many citizens in Dallas. Based in a 22,000-square-foot space a few blocks from Fair Park, Ash Studios takes part in events, think tanks, classes, exhibitions, activist campaigns and site-specific work. Its mission is to encourage interracial and inter-generational dialogue and collaborations between creatives and citizens, to empower creatives to have a voice in public life, and to promote and create opportunities for economic self-determination for creatives. For more information, visit the website.

About the Pollock Gallery:

The Pollock Gallery recently moved to the east campus of SMU and is now located in Suite 101 in Expressway Tower, 6116 North Central Expressway, Dallas 75206. Due to the current pandemic, the gallery is open only by appointment. Parking and admission are free. For more information, call 214-768-4439 or email