What happens when you give 4 adventurous & fiercely independent artists an empty gallery?
GO FIGURE... Opening, July 5th UMVA Gallery 516 Congress St., Portland, Maine Painters Jen Joaquin, and Roland Salazar, Mixed media artist Jim Kelly, and Photographer Dave Wade are betting you will be as surprised as they are!
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The human ﬁgure has been a primary focus of visual representation since the
dawn of mankind. From cave drawings to twenty-ﬁrst century animation we're still obsessed with our outlines, contours and textures. Two dots and a slash and you have a face. A few stick lines and you have an entire body. From there it's been an endless quest to render the human form in ever greater degrees of subtlety, variety and sophistication in every form and medium imaginable. All cultures traditionally mandated the correct representation and established the standard of beauty. But with the twentieth century classical norms representations were exploded as cubism, expressionism, surrealism etc began to explore the interior life, the spirit and mystery behind the external visage. The portrait now becomes a two way mirror into the soul and the mind. The search is for the metaphysical essence of the self in a rapidly changing universe.
The four Union of Maine Visual Artists (UMVA) artists in this show, three painters and a photo artist, embrace the daunting challenge to create new perspectives on ﬁguration. The group will present work that ranges from the exotic to the anthropomorphic to the realistic. From dark mystery to absurdist humor, from ironic uncertainty to stunning beauty, the artists plumb emotional and psychological depths. They share their insights into viewing and understanding the complex and ever shifting human form.
For Jen Joaquin there is nothing so intriguing or mysterious as another person.
Exploring the threads that connect us, the love of vibrant color and the inexhaustible possibilities contained in the ﬁgure and face are all sources of inspiration. Her paintings, inﬂuenced by the saturated neon colors of her childhood, embrace the inherent familiarity of subject matter while incorporating her own personal aesthetic.
In the early 50's at the National Academy Of Design's life drawing classes Roland Salazar Rose realized his abstract treatment of the human form was the most natural and expressive for him. Ever since his abstract techniques in his ﬁgurative work have been his attempt to probe the mysteries of life within each of us. While scientiﬁc discoveries continue to explain the mysteries of the external cosmos his work seeks to explore the existential questions of humanity. Are we alone in life? Where did we come from and where are we going?
Jim Kelly's bold, colorful and ﬂat plane pieces are cartoonish with a whimsical feel that always have a perverse undertone. The large works on paper offer distorted perspectives and fractured proportions while celebrating the disturbingly fantastical.
Dave Wade believes we live in a world shaped by images …
from the earliest petroglyph to the most recent mobile phone selﬁe, the human face and ﬁgure have been magnets of attention. When the Self encounters the Other, our primitive instincts look ﬁrst for signs of danger and secondly for recognition. This human encounter and recording process provide a means of self veriﬁcation. Dave feels the images of the human form and the face defy the context of time. We look into the eyes of the portrait to see the universal within us. It is our gaze reﬂected back on us staring down mortality. http://www.umvaonline.org
Roland Salazar Rose