Roxana M. Bermejo.
I have always considered the interpreting of abstract paintings through figurative tools to be a sterile activity. It results in being a vain exercise in which the viewer tends to equate what is unknown to the familiar. The idea of discovering an algorithm to decipher the forms is as erroneous as the intention to analyze the man behind the brush, outside the horizon of his circumstances. The artist is–I would dare to categorize–always a continuous sum of incredibly small personal stories, of intertexts, of secrets, silenced or shared.
Precisely, under the title of Shared Secrets (Kendall Art Center, September 23 October 21, 2016) we receive the most recent exhibition of visual artist Pedro Ávila Gendis, who was born in Camaguey in 1959. The artist, a Cuban of those who carry the island in their suitcase, cannot avoid evoking fluvial themes in his works. Nature–wounded, hardened, vivacious, rises on the quadrangular surface of its abstractions, with a homogenous and vibrant rhythm of reds, whites, grays and yellows. The sea, without being explicated by the presence of watery tones, flows through the walls of the Kendall Art Center, flooding everything… a corporeal sea that I crave unquestioningly, even though up until now it was I who defended the innocuousness of the non-figurative language. Pedro Ávila Gendis is not, however, an artist who insinuates through his forms: he is a gestural, expressionist, abstract artist like so few. What happens, perhaps, will be a matter of empathy; it will be the damned circumstance when artist and spectator share the same island in the bowels. And the sea–Oh the sea!–Always a recurring motive for the Cuban. Then, I conceive it to be impetuous, from my personal reading, bathing each of the series that make up this show (The voice of the earth, Sublime Landscapes and Interior Spaces).
In the end, I do not doubt that this strange sensation of nature in suspense, of maritime depth … is just a distinction of mine, a need to-as stated before-return to the origins by the road already traveled; but I know for a fact that I am not the only person devoid of the Cuban sea in Florida. That is why I recommend, in any case, to experience with one’s own flesh the condition of humidity that is born from the work of the painter, when the gallery is penetrated. That sea (or not a sea) of Pedro Ávila Gendis insists on reminding me of that immortal poem by Miguel Ángel Asturias: Intimate friend from the dream, Ulysses / returned to his hazy destination, / like returning from other countries/ to his country. For being of sea salt.
This text appears in D FINE: Artists and Exhibitions in the Rodríguez Collection, an anthology of essays on the collection of Leonardo Rodríguez. [p. 14-15].
This book will be unveiled in a presentation at the Kendall Art Center, December 9th, 2018 at 2:00pm.