Cuban Tres

Three Cuban artists: Ivonne Ferrer, Adrian Menendez and Jorge Rodriguez Diez (R10)

Ivonne Ferrer, Adrian Menendez and Jorge Rodriguez Diez (R10) at the Cincinnati Art Museum

Cincinnati’s Annex Gallery will showcase during the month of June the exhibition Cuban Tres, open to the public starting June 25. Three Cuban artists: Ivonne Ferrer, Adrian Menendez and Jorge Rodriguez Diez (R10) present different proposals very much determined by their individual circumstances. Ivonne and Adrian live in Miami and R10 in Havana. Ivonne since 1995 and Adrián since he was a child. R10, on the other hand, resides in Cuba. Their visions could not be further from similar although they share a common ‘imaginary’ structure.

Ivonne Ferrer, Visión fálica de Muñoz, Mixed on canvas, 40 x 60″

Ivonne’s work is represented by her series Art Attack, which explores the spectrum of relationships that the artistic work establishes with the viewer from a formal or thematic ambiguity. The creative imagination of Ivonne Ferrer produces works that are as bizarre as they are provocative. She invites us into a world of irony, satire, humor, and surrealism, always accomplished through meticulous draftsmanship, painterly and compositional skills. Only with a strong background in an academic system that demanded technical proficiencies and conceptual originality, could an artist succeed in making a body of work of such inventiveness. Giving credit to her education in Havana and an artistic tradition ranging from the academic to images from popular culture that continues to serve as inspiration, Ivonne Ferrer has brought her unique vision into another dimension in the cosmopolitan art scene of Miami, while never losing the powers of invention that have marked her career for many years. She continues to conceive and develop a strange cast of characters, dominated by women of all ages, descriptions, and historical sources. The female protagonists in her works introduce us to their stories, force remarkable readings of their dilemmas, real and imagined, and emerge heroic – even when they should be the victims. All her characters disguise an inexplicable and fantastic reality as they cavort in a world of fragments, distortions, and warped alterations devoid of time and place. Who in the world are they and what are they doing, or did they do, or will they do? These are the questions that Ivonne Ferrer provokes in her strange accumulations of images, oddities, and mise-en-scénes. For each work, she manages to construct new identities in allegorical twists that expand the complexities of an historical framework.

Adrián Menéndez, Pentagon, mix media canvas, 30 x 48″

Adrian presents a series of abstractions that explore the confluence of a purely chromatic work with another that rests on figures drawn from his explorations of pure geometry in order to tell individual stories in his paintings. In the process, the artist experiments with the selection and intensity of colors as well as with the intentional clash between the free brushstroke of the gestural painting and line drawing. However, the author of Pulse, M11 Train Bomb, 9/11 and Sandy Hook Locker does not make art in a vacuum confining abstract art to formalism. The Fluorescent Black series is part of a larger body of works dealing with violence, suffering, memory and the social turmoil of American reality. This series takes inspiration from a long list of violent acts including terror attacks and mass shootings whose frequency has increased exponentially in the last decade. In an act of synthesis that aims to capture the ephemeral nature of memory, Menéndez eliminates all circumstantial elements to leave only traces of the crime scene. The fine lines recreating a bar countertop, a window or a door, along with the vibrant acrylic or natural colors are remnants of the tragedy. For Menéndez, the tragedy of our time goes beyond each carnage to involve the desensitizing effects of being continuously exposed to violence through the media. As an educator himself, the artist communicates his concerns about the future making a point on the time constraints and other issues faced by American families at large. His original approach to materials is combined with a philosophical message about violence, segregation and other social matters that link this series of paintings to his performances, videos and other digital works.

Jorge Rodríguez Diez, Cute enough, Acrylic on canvas, , 47 x 33″

Jorge Rodríguez Diez (R-10), shares reflections on his immediate socio-political reality and his own work in the city of Cincinnati. The artistic poetry of Jorge Rodríguez Diez, from the view of design, is problematized with the social dilemmas that surround the present, but only by freeing oneself from professional practice, deprived of the weight of the commission, of the practical (utilitarian) and the precise message, will your products become more and more like painting. “Retro” enters the scene in his work, motivating satire and humor, immediately put in line by the viewer. The “Vintage,” in the form of commercial advertising, activates the ambiguity through simulated commercials where certain expectations of the informed observer end up translating into a rough mixture or suggesting in their minds contradictions, inducing the most diverse relations with local and international reality. The works of R-10 are those that seek to impose themselves only once, although they incorporate headpieces, guidance in the form of small letters and a climate of uncertainty, because generally they result in a field sown with their patterns, slogans and instructions. A precise and subtle individual mythology, operating with salvaged characteristics and tropes. A key contribution of Jorge is, without a doubt, is precisely that of delivering an image packaged as a game to assemble, but without a manual. Now, none of this can be adequately analyzed without coming into direct contact with his works because on the surface, there are sensory effects, finishes and textures that also connect with the original mediums from which commercial ads and political advertisements were born. Such semantic operations are created by R-10, as if he wanted to place a mask on each symbol and thus force his interpretation as much as possible, even to the environments he conceives, he gives an emblematic character to which he attributes a situational role, which guides the viewer in the direction of a certain legendary scene.

Ivonne Ferrer, Art attack, Mixed on canvas, 30 x 40″

Ivonne Ferrer (b. Cuba) Graduated from San Alejandro Academy of Fine Arts, and René Portocarrero National Silk Screen Print Shop, Havana, Cuba. Already graduated, works as restorer of sculpture and painting in the Museum of the City of Havana. Following an initial solo exhibition of her works in Havana, Atribuciones in Fidelio Ponce Gallery (1990), that led her to take her first steps as a professional, she leaves her country of birth and moves to Madrid, where her reputation as an artist is solidified and where she quickly attains a place of prominence following two new solo exhibitions, La temperatura de Dios (1993) and Fisiología decorativa (1994). She also participates in numerous other projects and collective exhibitions: La isla mágica in Copenhagen, together with two masters, the Cuban Julio Girona and the Spaniard Fernando Somosa, and Fresca y bajita de sal in Genoa, Italy, with Aldo Menéndez, closing the period with a solid production for Expo Universal Sevilla 92, Arts Pavillion. Ivonne moves to the United States in 1995, in 1997 Trinomio cubano that opened at Botello Gallery in Hato Rey.In 2001, she produces a shown at Durban Segnini Gallery and exhibits her work in numerous and outstanding locations: 2002 The Permanent Collection, Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), California. 2003 Arcale International Art Fair, Salamanca. 2005 The Illustrated Book. A Marriage of Science and Art, FIU, Miami. 2005 Exhibition in tribute to María Sambrano, Museo de América, Madrid. 2006 Supermix, Contemporay Art in Miami, Edge Zones Gallery. 2009 Itinerant expo for America and Europa I Have a Dream. 2010 Soupe d’ escargot, Alliance Francaise, Miami. 2012 (R) Evolution Comics, Solo Exhibition, Aluna Art Foundation, Miami. 2014 Women at the edge of an island, Museum of de Cuban Art, Miami. 2015 Artistic License Gallery 91, Wynwood, Miami. 2016 Closeup Webber Gallery at College of Central Florida, Ocala, among other.

Adrián Menéndez, Drain, mix media canvas, 30 x 40″

Adrián Menéndez (b. Madrid, Spain) is a Cuban-American artist based in Miami. In 2008, the sixth generation artist exhibited a wood carving which denounced the human being as a predator of nature. This piece won him the Miami-Dade Public School Art Competition. His preliminary style began to form in 2010, this is a period in which he uses realism in relation to pop art to express social commentary. One such piece (The Pink) was exhibited in Beautified Objects and marks an important development in his visual language, a shift from draftsmanship to sculptural exploration. By 2014 his style came into maturity through the exploration of abstract neo expression, the fusion of the geometric, and the gestural. He is currently completing his studies in Art History and Philosophy at Florida International University (FIU), and serves as an assistant art teacher at a Miami Dade Public School. Today his abstract works consolidate a philosophical, intimate and spiritual message through a collection that will soon be exhibited under the title Fluorescent Black.

Jorge Rodríguez Diez, Who cares, 2016, Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 32″

Jorge Rodríguez Diez (R-10) (b. Havana, Cuba)He studied in Havana at the Technical Institute of Industrial Design and the Superior institute of Design. R10 creates decodable poster-like paintings using 50’s era nostalgic imagery, text and a thoughtfully considered color palette to conjure atmospheres of lost decades of Cuban culture. Puzzling you is the nature of R10’s game. As a trained Graphic Designer, he begins with a clear idea, concisely communicated yet purposefully ambiguous; at times satirical, at times sincere, he uses layers of meaning so the viewer can choose what they are seeing and what the images reveal. His works have been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Spain, China, Germany and South Korea including a solo show at Icheri Secher Modern Art Center in Azerbaijan and most recently at the Marta Hewitt Gallery in Cincinnati, OH. He has had solo exhibitions at the Icheri Secher Modern Art Center, Baku, Azerbaijan, and a number of institutions throughout Havana. In addition, he has participated in group exhibitions in Havana, Argentina, Portugal, France and the United States. He is a designer, visual artist and native, currently living and working in Havana, Cuba.

Opening: June 25, 2021
Located in the Pendleton Art Center compound Annex Gallery hosting timely and socially relevant exhibitions of local and international artists.
Gallery hours are noon-5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, or by appointment.

Annex Gallery
1310 Pendleton Street, Cincinnati, OH.


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