Through his works, Ray MartÌn Abeyta brings the hybrid styles of European baroque paintings that developed during the Spanish colonial period in the Americas into the 21st century, using modern subjects and subject matter.

Now, for the first time, an exhibit of paintings by the New York-based Chicano painter has made its way to the Los Angeles area, and an opening reception for the exhibition is scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday, January 15th, at the Patricia Correia Gallery, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. Admission is free.

The exhibit remains on display until Saturday, February 26th.

Abeyta’s large-scale paintings borrow stylistically from the cross-cultural and temporal aesthetics of didactic Pre-Conquest codices and colonial retablo ex-voto paintings. The retablo painting style is a mix of traditional Catholic iconography, Spanish culture and indigenous artistry, creating a uniquely mestizo (Spanish and Native American) aesthetic. Ex-votos were traditional Spanish works of art meant as prayers and requests for divine intervention that were often painted on thin sheets of metal.

Into this mix Abeyta sprinkles the showy flavor of 20th century carnival poster art and uses modern cultural subject matter, including Lowrider car detailing.

His stylized realism produces a range of textures from “supple flesh tones to lavish brocades to luminously gilded architectural moldings of floriated design,” says Kristina Perea of the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

Due to his acute attention to pictorial detail, smooth brushwork and handling of chiaroscuro, Abeyta is considered by many to be a contemporary master of colonial baroque painting. Chiaroscuro is the use of light and dark to create an intensified illusion of depth.

Abeyta’s work can be found in the permanent collections of New Mexico art institutions, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe, National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, and the Center for the Performing Arts in Albuquerque.

Abeyta grew up in the historic northern New Mexico town of La Villa Real de Santa Cruz de la Ca”ada, which was established in 1695. Abeyta has traveled extensively through Latin America and Europe and now resides in Brooklyn.

He currently has a national traveling museum solo exhibition, which will be on the road until 2007.

“Like the buildup of fine varnish layers he applies to his paintings and his carefully placed registers and cartouches of text, Abeyta’s ‘Colonial Barrococo’ creates a sophisticated visual encyclopedia of people and their histories, both real and mythological,” according to a Patricia Correia Gallery spokeswoman.

Information, (310) 264-1760.