Artist’s Reception, Saturday, January 14, 6-8pm
Cuba’s most influential contemporary painter, Flavio Garciandia, will have his second solo exhibition at Couturier Gallery. Garciandia (b. 1950) is best known for his abstract paintings and the twenty seven abstract paintings included in the show represent a new body of acrylic work painted on aluminum, a recent departure from his oil works on canvas. The opening reception for the artist will be Saturday, January 14 from 6-8pm.
His earlier works from the late 1970s and ‘80s employed photorealism, with bright “kitsch” iconography in dimensional paintings and installations questioning Cuban middle-class ideals and the problems that contemporary society has posed for art. This later evolved into abstract paintings of a philosophical and critical nature. Throughout his over three-decade career, Garciandia has cited the history of modern art in paintings which mix an abstract language derived from Cubism, Constructivism and Abstract Expressionism with the use of exuberant and sometimes perverse colors, to establish what he calls (with well intended irony) “New Tropical Abstraction.”
Garciandia’s works as well often reference, in their structure and off-hand tributes, artists whose actual works or writings he admires or who are representative of particular art historical movements. He does so with with typical Cuban ironic-satiric humor, expertly playing not only with their visual language, but also tweaking the notion of the artist being on a pedestal by imposing his deconstructivist hand on historical reference.
Currently a resident of Mexico, Garciandia was a major figure in the dynamic Cuban art scene of the late 1970s and ‘80s. He was a member of the group “Los ochenta” (“the ‘80s”), which included artists Jose Bedia, Marta Maria Perez Bravo and Arturo Cuenca, and together were responsible for establishing new forms of artistic expression in Cuba which ultimately led to the formation of the first Havana Biennial in 1984.
As professor at the famed art school Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA), Flavio Garciandia has been an important teacher and mentor to many of the current younger generation of Cuban artists (loosely referred to as the artists of the “’90s”) who have been exhibiting around the world, many of whom have had exhibitions here in Los Angeles during the past decade (including Los Carpinteros, Carlos Estevez, Abel Barroso). In addition to Cuba, he has exhibited extensively worldwide, and taken part in a number of major biennials including Havana (1984, ’86, ’89, 2006), Colombia (1981, ’86), Sao Paolo (1985), and Cuenca (Ecuador, 1989). His work may be found in museum collections including Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba; Empresa de Proyectos No.15, Ministerio de la Construcción, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba; Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen, Germany; Museo de Arte Moderno, Lodz, Poland, Museo de Arte Moderno La Tertulia, Cali, Colombia; Museo de la Solidaridad, Managua, Nicaragua; Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo (MEIAC), Badajoz, Spain; Museo Histórico Provincial, Santa Clara, Villa Clara, Cuba; Poritaidemuseu, Pori, Finland.
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