by Piter Ortega
FOLEY GALLERY is proud to present “HAVANA – NEW YORK: From Cuban Art to a Multicultural Experience” an exhibition by Cuban artist José Joaquín Ávila Rodríguez.
The work of young Cuban artist José Joaquín Ávila Rodríguez is markedly self-referential. His life experiences between Guantanamo, Havana, and New York became the cornerstone of his reflections. This makes his work as multicultural, diverse and complex as the two nations separated by 90 miles.
There is an iconographic symbol that is repeated in many of the pieces, that undoubtedly represents the most important figure in Joaquin’s work: the balloon. The balloon is a symbol of flight, of infinite freedom, of the most authentic dreams that know no limits. It is an ethereal, light figure that reminds us the innocence of the infantile universe (perhaps that boy that the young artist carries inside). The balloon in these works is the force of utopia, it is the virtue of change: a new beginning, a new birth. It is the privilege of adventure, the road without direction; indomitable.
But Joaquin’s poetics also use the appropriation of works from the past in the history of art, to re-semanticize and bring them to our present, with an admirable acuteness. Such is the case of the piece titled “Aleppo and I”, a sort of tribute to Pablo Picasso as well as a heartbreaking testimony of one of the saddest events of our time: The Syrian civil war. The treatment of the chromatic range becomes very meritorious in this work, as well as the composition and the treatment of space, among other factors that make this one of the best pieces achieved by the artist.
Maps, superheroes, human figures, microphones and human skulls are other elements that intrigue and seduce us. We associate them with themes such as the violence of contemporary societies, the lack of communication and civility, the relationship between current societies and their models of heroism, as well as the links of power between North and South, etc.
Finally, another characteristic of Joaquin’s work is its versatility. The artist is not afraid of any material, any technique. This exhibition features acrylics, collages, pastels, engravings, sculptures, and installations. It is a diverse exhibition that offers us a tour of the work of this young artist who, due to his undeniable talent, would be worth following for future clues.
Curator and Art Critic
Wednesday June 28th, 2017, 6:00-9:00 pm
FOLEY GALLERY 59 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002