Curated Shows: My Visitors Nestor Madalengoitia New Paintings
Nestor Madalengoitia New Paintings
March 23 - April 22, 2006 Artist reception: March 25, 2006, 6-9 PM
New work by artist Nestor Madalengoitia will be showcased in an exhibit that opens on March 25 from 6 - 9 at the Henry Gregg Gallery in Brooklyn.
The exhibit will run through April 22, and includes both paintings and pastels created with letters, numbers and repeating figures as compositional elements. When seen as a whole, these individual shapes form a complete portrait.
In the works the artist wants to evoke the significance of the subject through these symbols, and engage the audience in discovering how these relate to the subject’s personality.
This series allows the viewer to see the whole portrait, but also to be aware of the words, numbers, patterns or simple drawings used to create the piece.
For the artist, this juxtaposition makes the pieces come alive. The subject matter of the paintings in the exhibit is based on the idea of having visitors in an artist’s studio.
In the paintings we see friends, relatives and imaginary friends (artists throughout history) that have influenced Madalengoitia’s art. Picasso, Cezanne, Warhol and Chuck Close are all represented here. Text related to the subjects is incorporated into the painting’s compositional fabric, giving each piece a multilayered message - that of the overall composition as well as meaning through the smaller text and images.
The text may be based on the subject’s character, a quote of theirs, or something that the artist perceives about the subject. In “Blue Painting”, seven artists are captured as though in discussion about the meaning of art. The background texture is formed by a block of bold letters. On closer inspection, one sees that this block of text is a narrative (in Spanish and English) about art.
Notable in the piece is that neither element (the text or the subject matter) is overshadowed by the other, rather they work in harmony to create a complete picture. In these paintings, the artist also explores the timelessness of these artists, and how they are connected and have influenced modern day artists, specifically the artist himself.
The exhibition will also feature a number of dynamic pastel portraits. In these pieces, the artist uses repeating elements to form a complete portrait. In one work, a portrait of a bearded man stares out at us, created only with geometric shapes. In another piece, we see the familiar profile of Pablo Picasso.
In this case, Madalengoitia used only the name “Picasso” drawn in script over and over again to create the work. These works are highly successful, in part due to Madalengoitia’s ability to use color to create light and shadow in the piece.
According to the artist, these works were inspired by ancient tapestries from Paracas, Peru (the artist’s native country). The woven pre-Inca tapestries use intricate figures to tell a whole story in a larger piece. In talking about his work, the artist tells us, “I hope using this technique will offer viewers deeper understanding of the subject. I want viewers to see the whole portrait, but also to be very aware of the words, numbers or patterns used to create the piece. This creates a dynamic tension to engage the viewer in discovering which symbols are used to define the piece and how they relate to the subject.
My goal as an artist is to give people a visual channel in which to view social situations. Painting allows me to interact with the subjects of my community, whether that community is my family, my neighborhood, or the community of the world. Perhaps through my paintings viewers can reflect on their own reality.”