jueves, 20 de noviembre de 2014



Néstor Arenas:  Paisajes Transformer
Exhibition of Works by Néstor Arenas
On View November 29, 2014 through January 8, 2015
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 29
7 to 9 p.m.
Néstor Arenas: Paisajes Transformer, curated by art critic and independent curator Dennys Matos, is an exhibition displaying the latest paintings and drawings by this important neo-figurative Cuban artist, based in the United States. 
Néstor Arenas was born in Holguín, Cuba, in 1968.  He graduated from the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) de La Habana in 1990 with a degree in painting.  In the early 90's he settled in Spain and, after a series of personal projects, he developed a neo-figurative poetic marked by the appropriation of different styles of contemporary art history, from Russian constructivism neo-Dadaism, Pop Art to neo expressionism.  Adopting a downright parodic attitude, Arenas cannibalizes the symbolic capitals of these styles as if they were a sort of files or sources to be manipulated or juxtaposition to shape a particular interpretation of poetic neo-figurativeFrom the point of view of discourse, the notion of landscapes take on crucial relevance in those years. Through this notion, on the one hand, he addresses the complexity of development between history and representation, between truth and ideology of the ways they are interpreted. The exhibitions "Paisajes y Fragmentos" (1998) Galería de Arte Lausin & Blasco in Zaragoza, Spain and "Pinturas" (1996) Galería Colón XVI in Bilbao, Spain are emblematic examples of this proposal.
In 2001, Néstor Arenas settles down in Miami where his poetic neo-figurative acquires a more iconographic character and, in addition to painting,  gives way to photography, video and sculpture art. The combination of these new expression formats are evident in exhibitions such as Legopainting (2010) Lyle O'Reitzel Gallery in Miami, FL and Solo Show (2008) ISM Gallery also in Miami, FL.  In them he essentially maintains the notion of landscapes, but they begin to shift toward a contrast between the worlds of life generated by the two grand narratives produced in the development of modernity: Capitalism and Communism. In Néstor Arenas: Paisajes Transformers the artist investigates the iconographic nature of the languages ​​of contemporary art, while trying to imagine a socio-cultural future in a globalized world.  From the material and spiritual cultures produced by these narratives, he creates an imaginarium to ponder about utopian visions where images that make social, cultural and artistic references to what was the communist utopian project as well as those derived from the mass culture of triumphant postindustrial capitalism coexist.  In these paintings and drawings with a strong iconographic character, created between 2009 and 2013, Arenas builds a world that invites reflection about imaginary spaces in which both iconographies devise unpublished historical narratives.
This exhibition will be accompanied by a full color catalogue with an essay by Dennys Matos.  For more information visit the artist's website:  www.nestorarenas.com.
The opening night reception for Néstor Arenas: Paisajes Transformer is Saturday, November 29th,
7 – 9 pm and is free and open to the public. The exhibition will be on view from November 29, 2014 through January 8, 2015 weekdays from 11 am to 5 pm, by appointment.
Farside Gallery is located at:  1305 Galloway Road (87th Avenue), Miami, FL 33174
Free parking is available across the street at the Central Bible Assembly of God on opening night.
Venue:                               Farside Gallery
On view:                            November 29, 2014 through January 8, 2015
Event name:                      "Néstor Arenas: Paisajes Transformer"
Event contact:                    Raissa Soler
Event time:                         weekdays 11 am to 5 pm by appointment
Event email:                       farsidegallery@bellsouth.net
Event cost:                         $0.00
Event venue address:        1305 SW 87th Avenue, Miami, FL 33174
Event phone:                     305-264-3355
(info via Farside Gallery)

miércoles, 19 de noviembre de 2014

Artistas en el purgatorio

lunes, 3 de noviembre de 2014

11 / 11 -Eleven Artists on the Eleventh Month @ SERGIO PAYARES STUDIO

 Pip Brant
Adriano Buergo
Randy Burman
Ana Albertina Delgado
Miguel Dotres
Tomas Esson*
Mary Larsen
Rafael Lopez-Ramos
Sergio Payares
Natasha Perdomo
Magin Perez Ortiz
*On loan from the Stefania Barrionuevo Collection

Opening Nov 7th, 7:00 pm

1480 NE 131 St. Unit 105
North Miami FL 33161
Ph 305 338 2968

Curated by Rafael Lopez-Ramos
cooperation with Sergio Payares Studio in support of Miami local artists

This exhibition was originally intended to include a larger number of artists and, for different reasons, it was finally reduced to 11. Then there was the coincidence that the opening will be on November, 11th month of the year, turning the coincidence into synchronicity. Thus the 11:11 numerical sequence popped-up. There is no better image / concept to found an artistic project on than these numerals, evocative of human growing and spiritual enlightening –a path especially important in times of turmoil and distress as the ones humankind is going through now.

Nonetheless, this show was and is going to be about gathering our works on a true spirit of friendship, and the fact that these works result from a similar concept of art that seeks a balance between a thoughtful narrative and a crafting that corresponds to its aesthetical and semiotics needs, but is in no way an end by itself. Art is a way of thinking with the tip of the fingers while teaching its viewers to think with their eyes.

Pip Brant, Two Girls and a Donkey, 2014
Hasenblut (rabbit blood) on Paper, 10” x 8”.

Pip Brant, Tommy and Harumi, 2014
Hasenblut (rabbit blood) on Paper, 10” x 8”.

Pip Brant, Big Head, 2014
Hasenblut (rabbit blood) on Paper, 10” x 8”.

Pip Brant, Looking Out, 2014
Hasenblut (rabbit blood) on Paper, 10” x 8”.

I have been raising rabbits for meat for three years, but seeing the hasenblut drawings of Joseph Beuys on my last trip to Germany, talked to me.  
So making full use of my rabbit project, I am using their blood as pigment. I have gone from straight painting, monotyping, to silk screening the blood and a combination of the three different options of image making.
This works honors the lives of the rabbits in way that is partly performative.  This brings a level of immediate sacrifice to the giving of life.
Pip Brant, artist statement

Adriano Buergo, Palms & Roller coaster, 2012 
Acrylic on canvas, 30" x 47". 

Adriano Buergo is among those Cuban artists ambidextrous enough to integrate his art into the dynamics and aesthetic itinerary of a collective such as Puré [which he co-founded] and at the same time successfully create an individual body of work, both in the context of the so-called “Prodigious Decade” or “Cuban Renaissance”: the mythic 1980s.”
“Utopia, transformative will, disillusionment, exodus, rootlessness, and reunion: all are experiences common to the lives of artists from Buergo’s generation who, like him, ended up emigrating—some without the possibility of return, an option that Roto did have. As a result, this work and its creator became a parable about situations in which many Cubans, artists or not, found themselves.
Buergo’s dexterousness was already apparent in previous works such as Naturaleza Muerta–Naturaleza Viva (Still Death–Still Life, 1988), a painting born of the irreverence and scatological humor flaunted by Puré—an art collective created in 1986 by Buergo and classmates Lázaro Saavedra, Ciro Quintana, Ana Albertina Delgado, and Ermy Taño. As Mosquera wrote in the previously quoted catalogue, “Buergo is the painter of Cuban filth,” and his attitude was that of a participating critic—a position perhaps symbolized by his description of “a cross composed of a loaf of bread and a turd, painted by the artist,” which corresponds to Naturaleza Muerta–Naturaleza Viva.” 
Israel Castellanos León, The Farber Collection

Randy Burman, Contemplation, 2008
Collage, Black marker drawing with cut paper, 20" x 26".

Randy Burman, An Elephant Never Perplexes, 2008
Collage, Black marker drawing with cut paper, 20" x 26".

Randy Burman, Seeking Meaning in a Glass Half Full or Half Empty, 2008
Collage, Black marker drawing with cut paper, 20" x 26".

Randy Burman, Self-realization Upon Meeting a Glass Half Full or Half Empty, 2008
Collage, Black marker drawing with cut paper, 20" x 26".

I have a serious preoccupation with the intuitive aspects of art making. There is an internal dichotomy that drives my creative process on several levels: I’m compelled to make serious statements, but find myself subverting that goal with irreverent humor. Precise execution is integral, yet playful strategies are often a point of departure. Though I toggle between these parts of my practice, the recurring result is work that engages the alchemy of juxtaposed elements, meanings and scale.
Though the execution is very exact, the starting point is often circumstantial. Placing found objects next to each other might act as the beginning of a piece. Other times work comes out of the leftover materials from separate projects or the appropriation of visual material from a swathe of sources. The resulting sculptures, installations, paintings and print media explore themes of metaphysical confrontation and identity while often encouraging dynamic interaction with the audience.
Randy Burman, artist statement

Ana Albertina Delgado, La noche y su yoyo, 2008
Acrylic on canvas, 24" x 18.

 Ana Albertina Delgado, El reflejo de Irma, 2008
Acrylic on canvas, 24" x 18.

 Ana Albertina Delgado, Danza con fuego, 2008
Acrylic on canvas, 24" x 18.

Ana Albertina Delgado, who has produced a marvelous body of paintings in oil on canvas, in which the use of color is of fundamental significance, prefers in her drawings the delicacy of color pencils – so closely associated to our childhood lucubrations. The artist uses color in a precise manner, concentrating it in details, neuralgic zones where the dramatic tension of the narrated or suggested story is concentrated in the manner of a “chakra”, an energetic center which will trigger the precious moment of illumination.
Ana Albertina’s peculiar universe is charged with the most varied influences contained in Cuban popular culture, especially the heritage linked to the peasant and Afro-Cuban imagery, the popular Mexican culture, as well as the feminist and feminine tradition that floods all her work.
Like a delicate thread, Ana’s stroke sews one drawing to another to create a continued history that is born in itself, takes the course of the sensual line and becomes definitely installed in the viewer. Such is the magic that inhabits this series of drawings in which the artist achieves impressive synthesis and overflowing sensuality. 

 Miguel Dotres, Transparent Melrose Ship (Undefined Space Vision), 2001
Watercolor, postcard, corners on paper, 28" x 20".

Miguel Dotres, North Side Royal Palm, 2001
Acrylic, watercolor, postcard, on paper, 28" x 20".

“The dawn of modernity and, ultimately, of phenomenology, thought that the range of meanings of the geometry has to be changed. Interestingly, it is visible in Dotres’ work, which realigns the model with its origins in nature and domestic surroundings. The diaphanous, billowing watercolor ribbons reminds banana leaves and waves, like light that seeps through the horizontal blinds called Persianas in Cuba and are a staple of late colonial architecture such as the vibrantly decorated windows colorful stained glass. Light is the oldest and ubiquitous symbol of the divine and the infinite, has been united for centuries in Cuba to other models that permeates everyday living spaces. 
The geometry begins to reveal its new destination everyday significance in tropical hyphens.”
Ricardo Pau-Llosa, Miguel Dotres: Geometría íntima, o las paradojas del hábitat

Tomas Esson (Stefania Barrionuevo Collection) 
Después de la tormenta, 2014 
Oil on canvas, 24" x 24".

Tomas Esson (Stefania Barrionuevo Collection) 
Bandera de Junio, 2003, oil on canvas, 24" x 18".
Tomas Esson (Stefania Barrionuevo Collection) 
Hula-Hula (sketch), 2014, charcoal on paper, 13" x 13".

“...the aesthetic category of the grotesque retains certain transgressive capacities and political thrust, as it renders the terms for an inversion of social hierarchies, for a confrontation of xenophobia and racism, and asserting the identity of alternative sexual orientations. Painter Tomás Esson renders contemporary versions of this subversive character of the grotesque.”
“...he depicted Cuban and American flags. He replaced the stars by phallus-like horns, whereas the stripes consist in grotesque sequences of glans, vulvas, thick mouths, tongues, teeth, ejaculations, and butts. Esson points both his humor and his rage against nationalistic symbols that have been emblems not only for lofty values, but also for intolerance and chauvinism.
Contemporary artists have used flags to subvert patriotism and make political commentaries. For instance, David Hammons changed the colors of the American flag, and turning it into an African-American Flag. Hammons suggests the possibility of writing an alternative story, perhaps with different values. Chilean Arturo Duclos made a flag of his own country, comprised of sixty-six human femurs, in an obvious reference to a past of murder and disappearance during Pinochet’s dictatorship.”
Ernesto Menéndez-Conde, Tomás Esson: Flags and Other Monsters

 Mary Larsen, Crossroads, 2014
Mixed media on wood panel, 16” x 20”.

 Mary Larsen, Dreamscape, 2014
Mixed media on wood panel, 16” x 20”.

Mary Larsen, The respite was brief, 2014
Mixed media on a book, 14.5” x 10”.

Mary Larsen, Conscious of desire, 2014
Mixed media on a book cover, 14.5” x 10”.

Through a meditative process of layering paint, ink, paper, found images, maps and silkscreen, Mary Larsen creates dream-like landscapes that are at once disorienting yet somehow familiar. Disparate elements work together to create an ephemeral atmosphere of violence and beauty, filled with contrasts and contradictions; balance through imbalance. By obscuring and revealing, each layer unfolds the narrative. The power of nature, history and chance coalesce to form an unsettling place that glimpses the possibility of hope. Each layer adds richness and depth, creating intimacy. Man is overwhelmed by the sublime power of nature and the pessimistic state of the world. The individual is depicted as a solitary figure in nature, all of his/her energy spent, on the edge of danger. The process is a transformative experience that informs the work. Images of violence and war and the power of nature are transformed into beauty and hope. 
Mary Larsen, artist statement

Rafael López-Ramos, The Noise Abatement Society Tapes, 2014
Acrylic on canvas, 26 1/8” x 37¾”.

Rafael López-Ramos, Yawning All The Way to Heaven, 20014
Acrylic on canvas, 11” x 14”.

Rafael López-Ramos, As Above, So Below, 20014
Acrylic on canvas, 11” x 14”.

"Rafael Lopez-Ramos’ artwork inherits the rebellious spirit and legacy of most of the 20th century, from Rauschenberg’s Combines and Lichtenstein’s paradoxes to Bad Painting, passing trough Malevich and Magritte, the multi-imagery of David Salle, the disturbing messages of Brazilian political artists Meireles and Oiticica, to the recognizable civic pathos of the dynamic, anti-establishment 1980s Cuban art."

“In Wonderland there are no hierarchies. The most innocuous objects –icons of our everyday life- coexist with heroes, politicians, and legendary dragons, among other characters, all of them amalgamated into an exhuberant pastiche that embodies our contemporary society.” (...) “Irony and kitsch are the two main resources threading through the discourse of the series. López-Ramos’ mordant approach is deeply rooted in an extended feeling of disappointment and decay experienced daily by common people in our globalized world, where trust and a sense of the future become merely a mirage, achievable only though the fallacy of the mass media.”

Janet Batet, ArtNexus Magazine Issue 91, 2014, p. 134.

Sergio Payares

Energía traducida en rojo, 2013 
Sanguine and graphite on paper, 29½” x 41½”.

The art of Sergio Payares appears to resist interpretation. In fact, it is necessary to view it attentively (which is doubly rewarding). Payares proposes a search for equidistant forms constituted by connective and angular linear strokes and luminous edges, with a doubtful tonal restriction. His composition is not geometric in the manner of optical art, neither is it abstract in the strict sense of the term. Color is not and end to itself, but rather a medium to provide a meaning to the artist's signature style.
The art of Sergio Payares suggests positive encounters. His art speaks about social co-existence. Payares' symbolism goes back from abstract to the concrete and from the universal to the particular. He prefers to highlight balance and fortunate coincidences. Communication - the artist tells us cannot exist by and for itself. Human interaction is what contributes, inevitably, to the progress of the human being.

Conceptualmente, y partiendo de ciertos presupuestos minimalistas que no tienen otro sentido que evitar lo superfluo, Payares dispone su propuesta a partir de configurar en sus obras acciones ideográficas que hacen de la carencia todo un ideario estético. Este ideario lo reordena visualmente, a través de la composición de grandes planos sometidos a un paciente proceso de veladuras que hacen aparecer y desaparecer ciertas manchas de colores, provocando así un efecto de densidad atmosférica que, junto con los colores pasteles, hacen menos patética y más ilusoria la frágil comunicación entre los despojos de seres sobrevivientes que pueblan sus obras.
La pintura de Sergio Payares está hecha de restos de sueños y ausencias. Acercarnos a ella es iniciar un diálogo silencioso con nuestras propias carencias. Entonces, durante este imprevisible diálogo, sucede algo que nos transporta del mero placer retiniano al ejercicio mental. 
Juan Carlos Betancourt, "Al contacto... vislumbré la ausencia"

Natasha Perdomo, The Bridge, 2014 
Acrylic on canvas, 33" x 44 ½".

Natasha Perdomo chooses the landscape to reflect on postindustrial civilization while giving a wink to certain kitschy aesthetic traditionally associated to this painting genre, which brings to mind Komar and Melamid's research on this aesthetic issue. Her work however, brings together the typical backlighting of Romanticism and a Surrealistic random juxtaposition of images freely flowing from the unconscious mind, to create serene visions often infused with a nightmarish atmosphere that allow us to make our own free associations and readings. Thus, The Bridge seems to refer to the rustic zigzagging road that disappears within the clouds into the infinity but it really is a metaphor on information technology and its revolution on the way we communicate, learn, and work, bringing a huge leap to human civilization. The over scaled tablet standing on the left side of the composition shows the logos of social networking services, as virtual doors to other people, while the secluded landscape surrounding it rather suggest a state of isolation and loneliness which finds a correlate in the screen background image, a virtual representation of the sky, juxtaposed to the real thing. It all carries a sour-sweet synecdoche of the new cybernetic culture dominating 21st Century and its ambivalence as bliss and anguish.  

 Magín Pérez Ortíz, Proyecto inútil para paraíso inconcluso, 2012
Oil on canvas, triptych, 353/8" x 71".

In visual terms my research took as initial source of reference the designs and projects dreamed by Leonardo Da Vinci for his war machines; in a postmodern gesture I have condiment them with the edgy spirit of Dada and Russian Constructivism.

The system of gears, pulleys and helm of my winged machines, always wish an impossible escape, being just portraits of the livelihood mechanics on rudimentary means; although the structure of the idea always consciously transgress the thin and limited walls of chauvinism. 
Magín Pérez Ortíz, artist statement

miércoles, 15 de octubre de 2014

GLEXIS NOVOA @ Juan Ruiz Gallery


Painting on Canvas is Cuban artist’s Glexis Novoa’s first solo exhibition at Juan Ruiz Gallery, specifically noteworthy for the following two aspects:  the artist's revisiting of an early period interrupted by exile in the mid 1990s and the context in which the work was created, Havana, where the artist recently set up a studio after a twenty-year hiatus.  Novoa’s return to the formal qualities of the 
Etapa Práctica
[the Practical Stage] and to the specificity of the Cuban context reveals poignant aspects of contemporary Cuban art today and the artist’s place in it. 

Glexis Novoa has been a pioneering figure in contemporary Cuban art since the late 1980s. He belongs to the younger generation of artists, who along with the group Volumen Uno that preceded them, organized groundbreaking exhibitions that challenged the status quo of Cuban cultural politics.  At times referred to as “the children of the revolution” for having been the first generation to grow up under Fidel Castro’s socialist government, Novoa and his contemporaries ushered in contemporary art practices that drew from international trends such as conceptual art, pop and kitsch aesthetics. While committed to art’s potential as an agent for social change, Novoa was a leading figure in employing performative and interventionist strategies that with cunning satire further contested the strictures imposed by communist ideologies on the role of art in society.  In his personal work, he created an artistic persona and planned the development of two bodies of work: Etapa Romántica (mid 1980s) and Etapa Práctica (late 1980s to early 1990s), which follows the artist’s transition from one who intentionally creates “bad” works of art – poorly executed and lacking any formal decorum – to a practical period in which the artist then purposefully displays his technical dexterity and commercial savvy. Through large-scale ambitious installations and paintings that were masterfully executed in the style of Expressionism and Constructivism, Novoa populated his work with Soviet-style symbols imbued with the visual grandiosity of political ideology.  Yet, upon closer inspection the signs and abstract forms that occupied his paintings were empty of any meaning.  By co-opting a formal language at once familiar and attractive to local and international audiences, Novoa guaranteed his place in the then burgeoning art market for contemporary Cuban art, while making a subversive, cunning commentary on the communist ideology rendered vacuous and bankrupt at the close of the Cold War.

Painting on Canvas draws heavily on the abstract expressionist style of this period.   Here, Novoa abandoned the meticulously rendered imagined urbanscapes in graphite on marble and drywall, often as site-specific installations, for which he has become known since permanently settling in Miami.  In the new work, solid blocks of Brutalist-like forms depict symbols that address the specificity of a post-Soviet Cuba, yet the bold abstraction of structures in other paintings evidence the influence of more universal and metaphysical concerns.  Each creates a subtle yet poignant commentary, literally layered with paint and figuratively with meaning, about socio-cultural, political and economic realities rooted both in the contradictory realities of the new Cuban context and the plurality of his personal and cultural identities.  Novoa’s acts of return also reveal the complexities inherent in the production and consumption of contemporary Cuban art. Like in Etapa Práctica, he plays into mechanisms of power; this time of art market demands that privilege the legitimacy of Cuban art as contingent upon place (Cuba), eschewing broader diasporic productions and transnational relations. Novoa both reinforces and challenges those biases.  His new work and his place in the broader narrative of contemporary art ultimately reveal the inherent tensions and inevitable interconnectedness between the local and global in today’s cultural production, as well as, the de-territorialization of nation and diaspora.

Elizabeth Cerejido
Independent Curator
Miami, Florida
October 2014

DATE: Thursday, 16 October, 2014 to Saturday, 22 November, 2014 

sábado, 27 de septiembre de 2014

ANGEL DELGADO @ Building Bridges

“Paisajes Incomodos”

    In his new series of paintings titled “Paisajes Incomodos” cuban artist Angel Delgado explores a theme constantly present throughout his work: the human condition and its relationship to the notions of freedom and identity. In this occasion, Delgado presents a series of paintings that far from the traditional idea of landscape, they constitute a view, indeed, but of rather a social panorama of what one would call modern societies. By juxtaposing everyday objects, aerial views of prisons and human silhouettes, the artist creates a composition that evokes a state of alienation. The individual seems utterly reduced to a series of social codes, to which he is, nevertheless, inextricably bonded.

       Delgado proposes to think about one’s identity as the result of a particular experience determined by a reality that is constituted not only physically but mentally. Delgado himself assures that his work does not reveal whether the figure represents the inmate in his cell longing freedom or the common citizen feeling imprisoned. What emerges from that tension is precisely a break in the logic of a system. Delgado’s figures lack spatial specificity precisely because they remain in that shadow-like zone. The physical space of enclosure where mobility is restricted is also the enclosed space of repression. With a Foucaultian gesture, the artist makes us aware of a reality that is not marked by bars or walls but by cultural or ideological concepts. The artist ultimately proposes to reconsider the structures through which contemporary societies are organized and how they develop paranoid and suspicious of the very idea of freedom they construct.   

    In Delgado’s new series there is also the presence of those wandering figures we so often encounter in the streets of any major city: the homeless. Here, Delgado seems to shift perspective as he goes from the enclosed space to explore the idea of mobility. The homeless, that eternal nomad, is an anonymous figure, an individual reduced to his precarious condition. With the homeless, which is not the same thing as the houseless, the artist invites us to think about the idea of place beyond the notion of physical space. Space is abstract and open but place is structured, limited and social. That is precisely why the homeless is perceived as being displaced or out of place. His condition represents a rupture with the social and moral expectations as those are directly associated with the idea of place. The anonymous traveler, carrying a suitcase, seems to enter in a dialogue with the homeless who transports his belongings on a shopping cart. And once more, one is left with the juxtaposition of these two figures, one longing for a place and the other one in a continuous attempt to escape from it. 

    Delgado, who just recently moved to Las Vegas, evokes the theme of transitory space so often associated to this peculiar city and invites us to reflect on how our reality, as it is physically and mentally constructed, shapes and defines our perception. These landscapes are uncomfortable indeed because in them the individual seems to be powerless. Among lines, color, transparencies and superpositions these faceless figures speak to us of something of the human condition and our struggle to make sense of the reality we construct.    

Patricia Ortega Miranda
September 26, 2014