2007 CIFO Grants & Commissions Program Exhibition
CIFO Art Space, Miami │ March 17 - May 6, 2007
3 Perspectives brings together three exceptional artists awarded the CIFO 2007 Commission: Eugenio Espinoza, Alvaro Oyarzún, and José Alejandro Restrepo. While their work could not be more dissimilar, they all share long and distinguished artistic careers-more than thirty years for Espinoza, and twenty for both Oyarzún and Restrepo-creating work both conceptually and aesthetically grounded in the contemporary critical discourse.
CIFO is proud to present the 2007 Achievement Commission to Eugenio Espinoza for his contribution to contemporary art through a trajectory of work that extends that of a mid-career artist. Espinoza, began expanding the ideology and aesthetic boundaries of the grid as the centerpoint of geometric abstraction in the early 1970s. His research has taken him far, and in 3 Perspectives he presents his recent "sculptural paintings" (painting-installations), which challenge traditional definitions of genre, media, or style. Each composition comprises several canvases of different sizes with painted grids. These arrangements are balanced precariously on objects such as a car jack, a ceramic teddy bear, or a twisted wire (with leftover elements from abandoned improvisations, such as brackets and screws, left on the walls).
Alvaro Oyarzún is a self- taught artist who has dedicated himself to exploring fundamental questions about the nature of art: What is art? What is an artist? What is a work of art? Why does art exist? Using painting, drawing, cartooning, text, and more recently photography, he narrates, re-signifies, encompasses, and interrogates the world around him. Oyarzún's monumental "paintings" are made from hundreds of smaller works in various media: an abstract painting is next to a botanical drawing, which is next to a landscape rendering, next to a caricature with an ironical text relating to art history or the life of an artist, next to a grotesque image of an invented organ, next to a naïve portrait, and so forth. The artist conceives of his oeuvre as a single work which is constantly evolving and growing. For 3 Perspectives, Oyarzún presents La imagen pintada o los más bellos recuerdos de la vida del Capitán Zanahoria [The Painted Image or the Most Beautiful Memories of the life of Captain Carrot]. Captain Carrot is not only overtly ironical (a central aspect in the artist's work) but refers to an archetypal artist-figure that Oyarzún has been exploring: the wanderer, who by losing himself in aimless searching, encounters his destiny.
José Alejandro Restrepo uses the medium of video to investigate how "knowledge" is altered through the subjectivity of our cultural values, political agendas, ambitions, hopes and desires. By exploring the dialectical relationship between the historical past (colonial history and expansion) and the present in Latin America, his video works offer insights into contemporary realities that are complicated and often contradictory. Recently, Restrepo has been engaging with iconography and religious beliefs in Colombia, creating works that disclose intersections between political events and personal tragedy, religious beliefs and their mass-media approaches, iconology and ideology, as well as historical colonialism and present-day self-colonialism. He provides a disquieting view of the nature of violence and its effect on the body as its maximum repository.
Eugenio Espinoza (Venezuela), Alvaro Oyarzún (Chile), José Alejandro Restrepo (Colombia).