Apr 222023

cabeza güera, 2019 Glazed ceramic and crochet cotton

“encuero”, 2022-2023, Crochet leather and copper; “gotitas”, 2023 Agate, glazed ceramic, plasma cut metal, steel, onyx, palm, and seed podand; “telaraña de cobre”, 2020 (web in upper corner)

“trastes ceramica”, 2023 Glazed ceramic, gourds, crochet copper wire, and limpet shell

There’s only two days left to see ektor garcia: esfuerzo at James Fuentes. The enchanting sculptures inspire curiosity and encourage the viewer to imagine the story behind the work while also admiring their construction.

From Art Daily about the exhibition-

Each of ektor garcia’s exhibitions are more like a marker of a moment of pause in his work, rather than a presentation of something complete or discrete. In this way his works are evidence of a continual natural progression, as things build on top of each other, evolving. In relation to the specific time and place of this newest exhibition; it marks a cyclical continuation of the garcia’s presentations at the New Museum in 2017 and Sculpture Center in 2019—both of which moments in the artist’s life when he was traveling a lot, largely moving between Mexico, being on the road, and New York, specifically. This is the case once again, today:

For this show garcia traveled from his studio in Mexico City, suitcases filled with materials, to occupy the basement space below the gallery at 55 Delancey St in the lead up to the exhibition’s opening to the public. He has also retrieved objects previously exhibited or in storage—for example a 15-ft copper link piece recently exhibited at the Henry Art Museum has been broken into smaller pieces, added to and reconfigured into a new work(s). The exhibition title, esfuerzo translates to effort; as in a big push, like a birth, which feels apt for what the artist does. Pieces come together little by little over a long period of time; and the work comprises many small parts that each reflect his esfuerzo in making them. Another translation for esfuerzo could be output; and, shortened, fuerza means strength. Via his artistic practice, garcia is the conduit or vessel through which that life-force runs, resulting in an output that is this body of work. garcia is constantly making, hands always moving; this is simply part of how he lives his life. The work therefore isn’t made toward constructing a larger conceptual conceit; instead, its making is its meaning, the working is the work. Its presence in the space is evidence of all this; making room for it to be approached and even interceded, we inherently take part in the work’s life cycle, even potentially changing its course by entering this domain.

This sense of force, therefore, isn’t tied to garcia’s hand only, but relates externally as well. One piece in the show, cochinilla (2022), is woven from wool dyed red from the shell of the cochineal insect. Last year it was installed on the exterior of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Monterrey, Mexico, and upon taking it down garcia’s realized it had become sun bleached unexpectedly. With other pieces he more deliberately pushes, forcing change, for example by using a blowtorch against copper to catalyze an oil-spill patina. Over time, crochet has been one constant; a crocheted piece needs time, and then it meets time. In his words: “The materials are vibrating back and forth, taking turns. That is how they evolve.” And so although the works reference the past they do not prioritize it; likewise the future. Rather, in the style of the ouroboros, they are cyclical, perpetual, and most generous about the present.

Artist Cy Gavin wrote this piece to accompany the exhibition, which is worth a read as well.


Mar 162023

Cy Gavin, “Untitled (Yellow pine),” 2023

Cy Gavin, “Untitled (Crossroads/meadow), 2022

Cy Gavin, “Untitled (Crossroads/meadow), 2022

Cy Gavin, “Untitled (Crossroads/meadow), 2022 (detail)

It’s the last week to see Cy Gavin’s painting exhibition at Gagosian’s 21st location in NYC.

From the gallery’s press release-

Gavin’s landscape paintings transmute subjective responses to specific places into expansive works with striking palettes and fluid, gestural brushwork. Composed in dimensions that are in keeping with the scale of experience, these paintings interpret the sites and processes of the natural world. In this body of work, Gavin concentrates on subjects he finds in the vicinity of his studio in New York’s Hudson Valley. He proposes a conception of landscape in relation to his status as a citizen and steward of the land, developing ways to explore themes of growth, renewal, and belonging.

Gavin’s paintings respond to the land as he finds it, which he endeavors to preserve and rewild. Made following the artist’s move to his current studio in early 2020, these works are also undergirded by the tensions of our time, which are marked by periods of solitude and upheaval.

Operating both as a gestural abstraction and as a painterly interpretation of a patch of ground near his studio, Untitled (Crossroads/meadow) (2022) depicts the intersection of paths bordered by tall grass in a fiery palette dominated by yellows, oranges, and pinks, evoking the blazing heat and brightness of the late summer sun. Along with the traditional symbolism of directionality and decision-making that is inherent to crossroads, this view presents a previously manicured lawn that the artist allowed to regrow into a meadow, with mown paths allowing access through it.

The verdant Untitled (Paths in a meadow) (2022) revisits the motif, placing the viewer low to the ground so that burgeoning grass and wildflowers divide the picture plane. Untitled (Paths, crossing—blue) (2022) is a nocturnal scene that conveys the enveloping darkness of a moonlit night. Gavin composed the painting with shades of blue that range from the diffuse washes over raw canvas in its foreground to dark, opaque passages that demarcate a tree line and open up to a star-filled sky. In a related palette of blues, Floor Painting #1 (Natural spring) (2023) is a mural-size work inspired by the dynamic waters of a spring. Displayed horizontally, the painting’s surface conveys the experience of looking down into the roiling currents, light variably revealing its depths and movements.

The themes of boundaries and borders are also prominent in Untitled (Rhododendron border) (2022), a painting in which sweeping brushstrokes describe the leaves of a woodland shrub on a dark ground, beyond which nothing can be seen. Its opacity expresses its function: the privacy achieved by a hedge the artist sited along the thoroughfare adjoining his property.

Other conceptions of time, place, and growth emerge in Untitled (Baldcypress) (2022), a painting in complementary hues that expresses the robust growth of one of the many saplings that Gavin has planted on his property. Outside its current natural range, this ancient species of tree once thrived in New York State, with this specimen now brought back to the area. Reflecting a mix of natural forces and the history of human interventions that defines the land, Untitled (Grass growing on a weir) (2022) depicts currents of water as they pass over the concrete slabs of a former dam that is now fully submerged. Simultaneously revealing and concealing visual information, the painting exists as an amalgam of past and present that defines the specificities of this place.

This exhibition closes 3/18/2023.