/ 1 September, 2017

By March several proposals to complement the celebrations of International Women’s Day had already been devised: a solo show by the young artist Lisyanet Rodríguez (1987) and a tribute to Gina Pellón (1926-2014), through conversations with the creators Ivonne Ferrer (1968), Ana María Sarlat (1959) and Laura Luna (1959). At the same time, the Kendall Art Center (KAC) was in the vortex of expanding its exhibition salons, therefore its director, Ciro Quintana, considered—for the new space—the idea of setting up an intergenerational dialogue between different artists having a common formation, the Instituto Superior de Arte (Higher Institute of Arts, Havana).

Before all these ideas and confluences, I decided that Poems was the perfect title to combine the three exhibitions, like individual poems set in the same event. (…) An exhibit by women artists, who do not have any intentional or stated feminist attitude. It is simply a communion of discourses and intimate poetics with the subtleness and elegance of good art.

I. Blooming

With the Blooming series Lisyanet Rodríguez questions the canons of “the ugly” established in western culture. From a deep emotional attachment to nature and mankind, she considers that every living being is beautiful, since every birth, every flowering—Blooming—is a process of magical essence.

On this premise she decides—with exquisite technical skill—to create works that thrust the spectator into “a formal ugliness” and “its artistic representation”. For some seconds the audience is placed at a receptive crossroad. But she knows how to use in her favor the value of aura in an artwork. From her canvases and papers she exonerates those beings that are deformed, unbalanced, incomplete, different, and elevates them to a hierarchy of sublime beauty. (…)

II. Fugacious

Like a posthumous tribute to Gina Pellón, part of her works belonging to the Rodríguez Collection (collection attached to KAC, property of Leonardo Rodríguez and family) were exhibited. A total of twelve pieces that cover her production from the 1970’s up to recent dates. Canvases, collages, watercolors and pastels were the media on which her iconic guaguas (buses) and illustrations for children spread. Female faces having strong expressionistic features and some others of beautiful naïve lines. Her skillful use of color is perceived at once, the same as her distinctive Cuban mark which always went together—although she was settled in Paris most of her life. No doubt, her work is that of a free spirit that she described herself as “a kind of multicolor graffiti”. As guest artists, the Miami-based Ana María Sarlat, Ivonne Ferrer and Laura Luna joined Fugacious with precise works. (…)

III. Being

In the series Havana-Mirage, Sandra Ramos constructs utopian Havanas. She interconnects spaces—HAV-MIA/HAV-NY—that are distant geographically and politically. For this purpose she uses bridges, winds, submarine-boats, ropes. Or like that Russian tale that I heard so much when I was a child, she decides to build Havana on a whale. It is interesting how, when you approach these works, their mirrors and reflections drive you into the illusion of the scene, as though we were one more character. (…) On the other hand, Ana Albertina’s work has a quite distinctive iconographic peculiarity. In her pieces, with delineated figures and bald heads, influences of diverse cultures are syncretized. The result is a sui generis work in which characters are inscrutable, magical, delicate and complex. A world of fantasy in which the palette rose absolutely prevails. (…) The series Stars, Travel, Mi Aire (My Air), Bondage and Blank Space are combined in a broad range of supports—canvases, collages, light boxes and paper—to show a more elliptical Marlys Fuego in her discourse. The colors and characteristic brightness of her work are now laid out on dark backgrounds. Once again she plays with appearances, what supposedly looks beautiful conceals a setting of multiple complexities associated to childhood and building the gender identity. (…) Grethell Rasúa, with Beyond Beauty (2017), a series of photographs, drawings, objects and live plants modified by man, keeps being interested in “filing stories, likes, evidences of human activity from the context in which she inhabits”. (…)

Poems is like a summary of dissimilar visual discourses, subjects, generations and cosmogonies. Beyond artistic practices, formats or manifestations, the exhibit is structured like a skein that always goes back to the starting point; to the question—who is she?— that underlies behind each work.

Gabriela García Azcuy

Gabriela García Azcuy

La Habana, 1989. Graduated from the Faculty of Arts and Letters in Havana University, she is continuing her studies at the University of Florida. She is curator and cultural manager of the art organization The Cuban Arts Group. Among her current projects are Cuban Ingenuity. The Artistry of the Everyday Inventor at the Cade Museum and the documentary with the same name. She is co-founder of the Next Generation Project, a foundation for the promotion and management of the Cuban arts. She has collaborated with various publications, such as Art OnCuba, Artecubano, Arte x Excelencias, Arbus Magazine, et al.

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