Saturday, September 27, 2014

Escape at the UNO Gallery

Kyle Bravo: Drawing on the Wall, the latest exhibition at the UNO Lakefront Campus Gallery, starts with a site specific work, a giant self-portrait, iconic for the artist who has livened up diverse spaces in New Orleans in the past, most recently The Front in the Saint-Claude Art District. Three massive white pedestals or separation boxes become a background for the cartoonish personage outlined in black, dressed in blue pants, loose T-shirt and wearing tennis shoes. Childish, "cool", he brings us on another adventure. This time, the playful hero takes a big jump, floating in space, disappears, sucked into another dimension. The last panel is white, empty. The rest of the story is on the other side where we can see him fall, head first, like a modern Icarus without wings, his  escape thwarted by... the laws of gravity.
Further, Kyle Bravo depicts landscapes of lines arranged in plaid like motives, in secondary warm yellowish colors or primary red and blue. The works are flat, without visual effects unlike Op art, but create an overwhelming, suffocating illusion of confinement. The obsessive pieces provide no way out, and the eyes cannot find a focal point to rest on.  One can take a step back and look at it as a plaid version of works from the Pattern and Decoration movement well represented in New Orleans by Robert Gordy.
Two portraits complete the exhibition, digitized drawings rendered in a larger scale, the male and female sitting on opposite side of a skiff surround the viewer who becomes the subject they are both drawing....unless they are drawing each other.
The piece again conveys a sense of confinement and could refer to the inescapability of life or loneliness, the personage appear so close in the same boat, but so distant with their lowered gaze.
The exhibition which appears lighthearted at first gains in depth as it progresses, bringing a thread to a conversation which includes also time. The drawings on the wall will disappear covered with white paint at the end of the show.
"A drawing is simply a line going for a walk." said Paul Klee...
and more adventures with Kyle Bravo.

photographs by the author

Monday, September 22, 2014

Music and Visual Art, two artists at Prospect.3

Terry Atkins

Terry Roger Adkins ( 1953-2014) was born in Washington, D.C., into a musical household. His father sang and played the organ, his mother was an amateur clarinetist and pianist. As a young man, Mr. Adkins planned to be a musician, but found himself drawn increasingly to visual art. He earned a B.S. in printmaking from Fisk University in Nashville (1975), followed by an M.S. in the field from Illinois State University (1977) and an M.F.A. in sculpture from the University of Kentucky (1979). A sculptor and saxophonist, his interest in music permeated the conceptual artist's career as illustrated in his genre-blurring pieces, combinations of visual art, spoken-word performance, video and live music. At his death, he was Professor of Fine Arts in the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania.
Early in his practice, he collected found objects with “an animistic approach to materials where you feel that they have more than just physical mass. There’s a spirit in them."
His sculptures were often inspired by, and dedicated to, historical figures, from musical heroes like blues singer Bessie Smith, guitarist Jimi Hendrix or composer Ludwig van Beethoven to the writer and activist W. E. B. Du Bois and the abolitionist John Brown.
He performed music throughout his career, forming the Lone Wolf Recital Corps in 1986, with which he performed widely and even forged immense, curious instruments like a set of 18-foot long horns he called arkaphones.
Atkins stated about his work: “My quest has been to find a way to make music as physical as sculpture might be, and sculpture as ethereal as music is. It’s kind of challenging to make both of those pursuits do what they are normally not able to do.”

His work is held in numerous public collections, including those of Tate Modern, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.

link to Artsy

Frederick J. Brown

Frederick J. Brown (1945-2012) was born in Greensboro, GA and grew up on Chicago's South Side surrounded by musicians like the blues men Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters who were family friends. Brown attended Chicago Vocational High School (CVS) and studied architecture. After learning the fundamentals of architecture, Brown attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois (SIU). Brown graduated from Southern Illinois University in 1968 with a Bachelor's degree in Art and Psychology. At SIU Brown was also an assistant instructor of art and was included in the University's 1968 group exhibition. In 1970 Brown had his first one-man show at the Illinois Bell Telephone Gallery in Chicago. During that period, he traveled to Europe and in 1970 settled in SoHo where he mingled with other artists and musicians. In 1972-1973, he directed and produced "Be Aware", a show combining visual art, dance and poetry. For a time in the 1980's he lived in China, where he taught in Beijing at the Central College of Fine Arts and Crafts, a sojourn that ended with a retrospective of his work at the Museum of the Chinese Revolution (now the National Museum of China) in Tienanmen Square. Brown's exhibition was considered a success and made him the first Western artist to exhibit his works at that venue. Furthermore, during this time Brown was the subject of a short film which aired on Chinese national television and documented his first visit.
Influenced by the German Expressionists and Abstract Expressionists like Willem de Kooning, who was his mentor for a time, the artist is best known for his hundreds of figurative portraits of jazz and blues musicians. He also produced works with religious, historical and urban themes. In 1993, Brown unveiled "the Assumption of Mary" at Xavier University of Louisiana.The painting is currently the largest religious work of art on canvas at three-stories tall. A year later Brown unveiled "the History of Art", a series of 110 paintings chronicling the progression of art through human history, through his own personal interpretation, now included in the permanent collection of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.  
 His work is represented in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Mo.

Brown called music “the catalyst for much of what I do” and often worked on a portrait while listening to the subject’s music.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Waiting for Prospect.3, four artists

Firelei Báez

Firelei Báez was born in 1980 in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, to Dominican and Haitian parents. She immigrated to the United States at the age of nine. Báez received a B.F.A. from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, NY, in 2004, attended the Skowhegan School Of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME, in 2008 and graduated from Hunter College, NY, with a M.F.A. in 2010. She has held residencies at The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace, The Lower East Side Print Shop and The Bronx Museum’s Artist in the Marketplace and presently lives and works in New York, NY.
"My artwork consists of paintings, drawings and prints that regard my physical self, my personal history, and Caribbean folklore. Caribbean folklore allows for malleability in the creation of the self, but I find my status as an Afro-Latina in the United States static and limiting in comparison. In response, I try to disrupt the current system of social categorization through the creation of characters that refuse definition. As more people become multiracial, skin tone is no longer a sufficient signifier. Growing media presence and more commonplace interactions via technology in our daily lives reduce each individual to a small part of a larger demographic. I use symbolically loaded scenarios to metaphorically illustrate the multiplicities and hypocrisies that make up the current discussion about race and class within popular culture."

Ebony C Patterson

Ebony G. Patterson is a Jamaican artist born in Kingston in 1981. She has taught at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston, Jamaica, the Sam Fox College of Design & Visual at Washington University in St. Louis. She has taught at the University of Virginia and is currently an Assistant Professor in Painting at the University of Kentucky. She lives and works in Lexington, KY and Kingston, Jamaica.
Her work includes paintings, drawings, collages and recently she added photography, installation and performance. The female body as an object is the subject of her early works with her "Venus", a search for "beauty through the use of the grotesque but visceral, confrontational and deconstructed."
One of Patterson's most recognized body of work, is a series entitled "Gangstas for Life," which explores conceptions of masculinity within  dancehall culture and subjects related to this, like homosexuality within a predominantly homophobic culture, race, stereotypes and beauty.
 She has shown her artwork in numerous solo and private exhibitions, such as Infinite Island: Contemporary Caribbean Art, Brooklyn Museum, (2007). National Biennial, National Gallery of Jamaica,(2006,2008,2010),Ghetto Biennale , Port-au-Prince, HaitiRockstone and Bootheel, Real Artways, (2010) Wrestling With the Image, Museum of the Americas,(2011)

link to National Gallery of Jamaica blog

Tavares Strachan

Tavares Henderson Strachan (born in Nassau in 1979) is a contemporary, conceptual artist whose multi-media installations investigate science, technology, mythology, history, and exploration. He lives and works in New York City and Nassau, Bahamas.
Initially a painter, Strachan earned his Associate of Fine Arts degree from the College of the Bahamas in 1999. In 2000, he moved to the US to enroll in the glass department at the Rhode Island School of Design and completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2003. Strachan went on to earn his Master of Fine Arts degree in Sculpture from Yale University in 2006. In 2006, Strachan joigned the international art scene with his piece titled "The Distance Between What We Have and What We Want" which involved a 4.5 ton block of ice from the Alaskan Artic displayed in a solar-powered freezer in the courtyard of his childhood elementary school. The work was later exhibited at Miami Art Basel and the Brooklyn Museum.
Strachan developed further the themes of exploration, displacement and the idea of pushing the body’s physical extremes, with a four-year, multimedia body of work "Orthostatic Tolerance" which documented Strachan’s experience in cosmonaut training at the Yuri Gagarin Training Center in Star City, Russia and experiments in space travel conducted in Nassau under the Bahamas Air and Space Exploration Center (BASEC), the artist’s version of NASA for his native country, with photography, video, drawing, sculpture and installation.
Last year a 20,000-square-foot overview of Strachan’s work from 2003–2011, subtitled Seen/Unseen,was presented at an undisclosed New York City location and was closed to the public. Tavares Strachan: seen/unseen is fully documented with a forthcoming catalogue, designed by Stefan Sagmeister. Strachan’s solo exhibitions include Orthostatic Tolerance: It Might Not Be Such a Bad Idea if I Never Went Home Again, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (2010); Orthostatic Tolerance: Launching from an Infinite Distance, Grand Arts, Kansas City, MO (2010); Tavares Strachan: Orthostatic Tolerance, the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (2009); Where We Are is Always Miles Away, The Luggage Store, San Francisco, CA (2006); and The Difference Between What We Have and What We Want, Albury Sayle Primary School, Nassau, The Bahamas (2006).
In 2013, Tavares Strachan represented The Bahamas in the country’s first national pavilion at the 55th International Venice Biennale.

link to Artsy
link to Prospect.3

Antonio Vega Macotela

Antonio Vega Macoleta was born in Mexico-city, Mexico, in 1980. He attended the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas, Mexico City, Mexico and obtained his BA in 2005. In 2011 he was accepted for a residency at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
The conceptual artist worked several years with the inmates of a prison in Mexico City and set up a "time exchange project" which resulted in a Series of works called Divisa , 2006-1010, a reflection on the concept of time. He also produced series like The Ungovernables for the Second New York Triennial, at the New Museum in 2012,
He participated in several group exhibitions, the latest at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Summer 2014.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Featured at Prospect.3

Tarsila do Amaral 

Tarsila do Amaral (1886-1973) was born in Capivari, a small town in the countryside of the State of São Paulo. She grew up in a wealthy family of farmers and landowners who grew coffee and was encouraged to pursue higher education despite being a woman. As a teenager, she traveled to Spain with her parents and was noticed to have talent reproducing artworks she was exposed to.
In 1916, she studied sculpture in São Paulo with Zadig and Montavani and later drawing and painting with Alexandrino, all respected conservative teachers. In 1920, she moved to Paris and studied at the Académie Julian and with Emile Renard. Returning to São Paulo in 1922, she joined Anita MalfattiMenotti Del PicchiaMário de Andrade, and Oswald de Andrade modernist artists who had just organized  the Semana de Arte Moderna ("Week of Modern Art"). They became  the Grupo dos Cinco and their goal was to integrate Brazilian culture into modern art. Now known simply as Tarsila, the artist was described as "the Brazilian painter who best achieved Brazilian aspirations for nationalistic expression in a modern style."
During a brief return to Paris in 1923, Tarsila was exposed to Cubism, Futurism, and Expressionism while studying with André Lhote, Fernand Léger, and Albert Gleizes. European artists were also finding inspiration in African and primitive cultures and Tarsila applied the same model in her practice, integrating her own country's indigenous forms with modern styles. While in Paris, she painted one of her most famous works, A Negra (1923). The painting marks the beginning of her synthesis of avant-garde aesthetics and Brazilian subject matter. She returned to Brazil at the end of 1923, traveled with the poet Oswald de Andrade and illustrated his book of poems entitled Pau Brasil published in 1924. She also made drawings of the various places they visited gathering ideas for future paintings. During that same period, she rediscovered the colors she "had adored as a child" and the hues became more vibrant on her canvas. Her initial painting from this period was E.C.F.B.(Estrada de Ferro Central do Brasil), (1924) which is a reflection of her interest in industrialization and its impact on society.
Tarsila married Andrade in 1926 and they traveled  throughout Europe. She also had her first exhibition in Paris and the positive reviews highlighted her use of bright colors and tropical images.
While in Paris, she was exposed to Surrealism and upon her return to Brazil, Tarsila began a new period where she began incorporating surrealist themes into her nationalistic art. She was in sync with the artistic movement in Brazil which strove to appropriate European styles and influences and developped an art typical of Brazil. Collaborating closely with Andrade, her first painting representative of this period Abaporu (1928), "Man Who Eats" was featured on the cover of Andrade's manifesto Anthropophagite Manifesto, which called Brazilians to create their own style and culture.  Another famous work, Antropofagia made the following year was in the same vein. In 1929, the artist had her first solo exhibition in Brazil and in 1930, she participated in exhibitions in New York and Paris. That same year saw the end of Tarsila's marriage and her collaboration with Andrade.
In 1931, she traveled to the Soviet Union where her works were exhibited at the Museum of Occidental Art in Moscow. There, she discovered the poverty of the Russian people and their struggle to survive and upon her return in Brazil in 1932, incorporated social themes in her work  like in Segundo Class (1931) which features impoverished Russian men, women and children. She was even emprisoned for a month, suspected of communist sympathies.
In 1938,Tarsila finally settled permanently in São Paulo where she spent the remainder of her career painting Brazilian people and landscapes. She also wrote a weekly arts and culture column for the Diario de São Paulo, which continued until 1952.
Her legacy includes 230 paintings, hundreds of drawings, illustrations, prints, murals, and five sculptures, but more important is her influence on the direction of Latin American art.The Amaral Crater on Mercury is named after her."

Lucia Koch

link to Prospect.3 blog 
link to the artist's website 
link to Artsy
link to biography (Christopher Grimes Gallery) 
link to statement 

Remy Jungerman

Remy Jungerman (1959) was born in Suriname of mixed parents with roots in Europe and Africa. He first studied art at the Academy for Higher Arts and Cultural Studies, Paramaribo (Suriname) then after moving to Amsterdam in 1990, at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy. He presently lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Going back to his Afro-Surinamese-Dutch roots has brought him to find inspiration in his trans-cultural experience which he is expressing through his collages, sculptures and installations and art has become his "vehicle for considering what it means to be a global citizen, someone believing in the potential of art to raise social consciousness and inspire cultural awareness".
Staging traditional materials and objects in different contexts, he challenges the established notions of their representation within Western society. "By using the three-dimensional cube, grids and other geometric forms and combining them with traditional objects, this gives me the opportunity to question modernism from a different angle. By doing this, I create a reference to the traditional and the modern."

 Since his first group exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Jungerman has participated in several solo and group exhibitions worldwide.
His work has been acquired by various institutions and private collectors worldwide among which: Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, MMKA Arnhem, Museum Het Domein Sittard, Zeeuws Museum Middelburg, ARC Collection Amsterdam, Droog, NY USA, the Rennies Collection Vancouver.
Private Collections in the USA, Canada, Suriname, Cuba, Brazil, Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Belgium and The Netherlands.

link to website
link to interview

The objects/elements never die, symbolically, in the artwork. By using these elements in contemporary art, they do change from their religious meaning but the new context might serve to enrich the way we look at them – allowing us to see them from a different perspective. Even traditional religious forms are changing over time because of their flexibility, especially Diaspora Afro-traditional religions and their attributes. - See more at:

The online exhibition I curated for the March 2014 edition of the Dutch art magazine Mister Motley gave me the opportunity to see that not much has shifted in my ties to my rich Surinamese heritage, in the aesthetics I gained from the surroundings in which I grew up and in what I have learned at art schools. - See more at:

With creating artworks I have the possibility and freedom to use objects and materials from a traditional context – mixing them to give other aesthetic meanings. By using the three-dimensional cube, grids and other geometric forms and combining them with traditional objects, this gives me the opportunity to question modernism from a different angle. By doing this, I create a reference to the traditional and the modern. - See more at:

  In 2005 I returned to Suriname to bury my father. While there, I visited the ancestor altar of the Maroon heritage of my mother – I was born from mixed parents with roots in Europe and Africa. At that moment I realized the richness of my African roots and made the decision to do further research into that spiritual context. From that day, I knew my work would change. I knew it would take a more spiritual and religious direction, with a connection to Winti, which is an Afro-Surinamese traditional religion. I realized that there was so much aesthetic material from the practice of Winti, which I could connect to the knowledge I have gained from contemporary art, especially Modernism. All of the residue from the rituals seem like finished art pieces. The only thing I was missing was the “how” – how to make the link with contemporary art practice. - See more at:

Visual artist Remy Jungerman was born in Moengo Suriname and his lived in Amsterdam since 1990. Through his collages, sculptures and installations he brings various materials, symbols, socio-historical contexts and locations in the world into communication with each other in order to address ideas of the local and the global. Jungerman’s work draws on Maroon culture in Suriname and the Diaspora, specifically Winti, which is an Afro-Surinamese religion.
His latest piece entitled “FODU: Ultimate Resistance” demonstrates his sustained engagement with the intersections of traditional religious practices and current trends in art. The work is now on display as part of the group exhibition Bezield: Seven Artists on Religion, Rituals and Death, which opened on May 10, 2014 at CBK Zuidoost, Amsterdam. The word “bezield” translates to “inspired” in English. I used this term as an entry point for talking with Jungerman about his art. In the interview, he pinpoints traditional and modern inspirations but he also identifies an inner stimulus – a source within him that acts as a ground on which his art is built.
- See more at:

The online exhibition I curated for the March 2014 edition of the Dutch art magazine Mister Motley gave me the opportunity to see that not much has shifted in my ties to my rich Surinamese heritage, in the aesthetics I gained from the surroundings in which I grew up and in what I have learned at art schools. - See more at: to websitelink to interview