Hispanic visual Artists strike again

Personal Images exhibited in conjunction with Red, John Logan’s play at Syracuse Stage Theater’s Sutton Gallery, in March, offered the public a variety of styles, as it seems to be characteristic of this group, which occasionally gathers to show its work collectively. Individually, these visual artists have showcased their work extensively during 2011-2012 with the exception of M. Hanford.

The exhibit reception was well attended, and was somewhat more formal than traditionally for the 3rd Thursday event in March. The contemporary atmosphere offered by the Theater that recently added a multimedia installation (sounds activated by pedestrians who step on the red cobblers), a colorful luminous sculpture, and the brand new, red, wooden, sculpted trunks at the corner of East Genesee and Irvine, was in sync with the displayed art.

Red, a drama play that presents a segment of the life of the renowned expressionist painter Mark Rothko, was supported by a documentary about his work and a lecture by the expert Japanese curator Sumi Hayashi at Syracuse University. 

Participating painter Esperanza Tielbaard’s abstract expressionist work reminds us of classical Kokoschka’s style that requires the active participation of the viewers to discover by themselves the images on the canvas. Her compositions invite one to analyze color and reformulate lines. Ms. Tielbaard’s work is a permanent metamorphosis of images that constantly evolve in each piece. Her artwork’s size allows exploring every inch, guided solely by imagination. Her use of metallic paints provides yet a less common vision of her work, making the process of discovery playful.           

Analytical cubism is evident in Angela Arrey-Wastavino’s current artwork. Her pieces recall the classical preplanned precisionist artistic movement. Whether the artist focuses on the entire composition or in the individual details to indicate contours, impeccable lines are present. In Personal Images, Dr. Arrey-Wastavino makes color particularly distinctive, attracting the eye of the visitor. Her three pieces became an unintended triptych discovered by the curators permitting the vision to flow along the pieces with the fluency of a narrator keeping interest, guided by the different focal points found in the individual pieces. These images are part of her series Revisiting Light and Geometry, a collection dedicated to architects from around the world, who have broken traditional patterns as far as to even challenge gravity.

Juan A. Cruz’s distinctive personal style involves a good degree of mystery. His pieces reflect the artist’s constant preoccupation of being part of an integral society. Though initially Cruz puzzles the viewer with his compositions; he, as well as Ms. Tielbaard’s, demands from the public time and patience to encounter the messages embedded in his images. The complexity of his lines and the colors he selects are well balanced to exercise imagination. Ultimately, it is in the hands of the viewer to interpret his work, which for him offers the elusive freedom he pursues. 

Oscar Garcés’ art in contrast to Puentes’ offers hope to his characters, who are evidently inspired by biblical figures charged with religious symbolisms. His illustrations send ambivalent mystic messages. Should man fear his own nature or the nature of God? The degree of luminosity applied by Garcés to his works serves as a technique to exaggerate his characters’ features in his illustrations, provoking a strong effect in the audience. It is relevant to mention the remarkable similarity between Garcés’ latest work’s palette and Puentes’.

Abisay Puentes in his work views humanity through a pessimistic lens where man represents a series of negative aspects. His Imposibilitados, figurative work, escape light to situate themselves in darkness. Though Puentes’ images display strong anatomies, the muscles do not have the strength to move themselves to a more optimistic path. By assigning negative connotations to his images, such as bad nature, the painter traps them in that permanent state. The contrast between light and darkness envelops his compositions in fatal atmospheres. His palette is consistent in all of his pieces.

Marcela Hanford’s two pieces offer an exploratory effort. Her artist statement did not offer concrete insights nor defined specific technique.

There is yet much more to say about these painters. I conclude that the exhibit was well coordinated, by Carol Charles, who also included a whole body of art surrounding the theatrical production. The inclusion of the CreativeArtsAcademy’s work, from the CommunityFolkArtCenter, provided young artists the opportunity to showcase their pieces side-by-side with Personal Images. This was undoubtedly a multidisciplinary strategy that benefited visual and performing artists equally in the community. Kudos to Ms. Charles!

These events were generously sponsored by Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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