Under the Art in the Community Program

El charco y la curva

The Americas Contemporary Art Museum in Kendall is set to unveil the international exhibition 'El Charco y la Curva' on Friday, January 19th. This exhibition showcases the works of nearly a dozen Cuban artists who live and work in Mexico. Intriguingly, their work engages in a compelling dialogue, revealing commonalities with the creations of artists who continue to produce art in Cuba, as well as with those currently active in South Florida.

Curated by Ariel Orozco

January 19th - February 17th | 2024

The curator of "El Charco y la Curva," Ariel Orozco, conceived this project upon encountering the Cuban Circle of Mexico A.C. This circle is a space dedicated to the promotion and exhibition of Cuban art. It includes workshops (dance, cooking) and culture in general and has served as a meeting point for many Cubans who left the island before the triumph of the Revolution or shortly thereafter, and who —inevitably— develop many programs and events with a strongly political focus. Orozco then decides, taking advantage of the space's willingness to find common ground with Cuban emigrants of other generations, to propose an abstract art project, where the works could comfortably engage in dialogue without confronting the political dimension of the space too directly, allowing artists with different creative strategies and diverse interests to coexist in a harmonious and conciliatory project.

Although not all of them regularly worked in abstract art, they did, in some way, through gesture and process. Marta María Pérez Bravo, for example—a distinguished photographer who does not recognize herself as such—presents a work in which the symbolic and autobiographical part that usually accompanies her production is less evident. By linking the image with the abstract, through the body she paints on glass leaving a pictorial imprint, Marta María postulates a way of capturing painting from another medium. Ángel Ricardo Ríos has been developing over the years a body of pictorial work that evolves from figurative art to a kind of abstraction, very rich visually and procedurally. Ríos relates the act of painting with the corporal, the physical, and the tactile, condensing a high level of sensuality that refers to the enjoyment of painting with fingers. A painter who “eats” by painting with his hands.

Focused on drawing for several years, James Bonachea presents "Liquid Matter," a piece that not only fits perfectly with the title of the exhibition and the fluidity it explores, but also establishes a relationship with the static, capturing —almost like in a photograph— the vibration of moving graphite. The rigid and the mobile become one. Jenny Macías is a young photographer who is exploring her relationship with the spaces she inhabits. The piece she shows is her first photograph after arriving from Miami, and it is a close-up of the Zaha Hadid building in Brickell. By mounting the photograph upside down, she offers us instead the image of a face looking at you; a stranger observing you, with whom you establish a relationship as close as it is distant. The idea of the close-up is what makes it abstract, trying to seek that proximity.

Ariel Orozco. Untitled, 2023
Ink on Paper | 9 x 12 Inches

Yanet Martínez had already approached painting from a material perspective, and now she explores a new relationship with the pictorial gesture. She not only incorporates matter but also is interested in the behavior of paint with external elements. The gestural related to the symbolic. From Yanet, a work from the “Archers” series was selected. It is a painting made with a gesture, incorporating a taut thread while the material is fresh. As the paint sets, it becomes tense due to the same pictorial process. This creates a moment of rigidity between the paint and the external element that is integrated, thus connecting with the external reality. The painting becomes allegorical, and the concrete image turns into a kind of “archer”.

Orozco defines the allegorical relationship between the title of the exhibition and the works chosen for the project as a relationship with the idea of the curved, the stagnant, and the random. The supposed puddle that we encounter at some point in the path of existence, which needs to be jumped over, skirted around, and turned around, an obstacle representing the contradiction between the static and the fluid, the spontaneous. Many of the pieces relate in this way to the immediate, being conceived and executed instinctively and impulsively.

This successful exhibition is now almost entirely on display in South Florida at the Americas Contemporary Art Museum as part of their Art in the Community program. The Cuban community in this state has had from the beginning a very significant weight politically, economically, and of course culturally. Cuban art has found a favorable context and fertile conditions where it can fully develop. These artists present the work they have done in another context, also foreign but somehow similar, and share with ours common interests and objectives, similar concerns, and a mature, objective, and realistic commitment to their nation of origin. These artists are Marta María Pérez, Yanet Martínez Molina, Jenny Macías, the Transferencistas —whose works have previously been exhibited at the museum— and James Bonachea, Flavio Garciandía, Melanio Zapata, Irving Vera, and Ariel Orozco, curator of the exhibition showing their work for the first time in this space.

Irving Vera. Untitled, 2023
Ink on Paper | 14 x 11½ Inches

Last but not least, we are honored by the participation and visit of the Mexican artist Melanio Zapata, who will be with us at the opening of the event.

The Americas Contemporary Art Museum is pleased in this way to reach out to neighboring communities that culturally and historically are part of our community; artists with a calling and universal projection with a consolidated proposal of great formal and conceptual quality. The exhibition will be open to the public for the rest of January and much of February 2024.

Alexis Martínez Benavides. Velo, 2022
Smoke in a Mask | 10 x 10 x 5 Inches

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