Art exhibits loosely based on literature are all the rage these days. Last year, Brian Zanisnik's "Philip Roth Presidential Library" show at Locust Projects caused quite a bit of buzz among local art world aficionados. And the recent Geandy Pavon and Jose Manuel Mesias' joint exhibit at Mindy Solomon Gallery continues the book-based trend. Titled "Political Fold" and "About the Absolute Truth," respectively, both shows wrangle with issues deeply tied to literary narrative including representation, subjectivity, and memory.
"[The] artists bend and twist imagery in ways that become extrapolated manifestations of reality and historic memory," said curator and eponymous gallery owner Mindy Solomon. "They transform the sacred to the profane, moving dream and story through complex neural circuitry until the ideas find a tangible surface to be displayed upon."
Playing on documentary imagery, Pavon imbues his paintings with a ruined quality and texture, giving them the probative heft typically associated with archival photographs. These are not just paintings; they're relics and symbols of a bygone era. Working from historical photographs, he re-creates images with oils and acrylics before augmenting them with wrinkles, folds, and cuts. He demystifies symbols of history, capitalism, and government, drawing the viewer into a deeper narrative introspection.
"The subject portrayed in each photograph allows me to travel from one genre to another, such as landscapes or portraits, but always conceived from the perspective of a still life painter," Pavon explained.
Jose Manuel Mesias, Mi Madre (2008)
Courtesy of Mindy Solomon Gallery
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Jose Manuel Mesias is also interested in exploring the psychological underpinnings of emotionally charged images in his work. Using his social reality as a source of inspiration, he deconstructs archetypes of Cuban history and gives them new meaning by imbuing them with his subjective experiences. His pieces are at the same time deeply personal and tied to the political reality of their immediate environment.
"My work exudes the beauty and deterioration of the urban setting," Mesias imparts. "It transmits the anxiety and marvel that the world, in equal parts, provokes.”
"Political Fold" and "About the Absolute Truth"
A joint exhibit by Cuban artists Geandy Pavon and Jose Manuel Mesias is currently on view at Mindy Solomon Gallery through August 13. Regular hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Sunday and Monday. For more information, contact the gallery directly at 786-953-6917.