HAVANA TIMES —New, neo-expressionist works by contemporary Cuban artists Rigoberto Rodriguez (popularly known as “Rigo”) and Ernesto Cordova, affording us two distinct takes on everyday reality, will be on display at a month-long exhibition entitled “Retaining”, currently mounted at the Fayad Jamis Arts Gallery in Alamar, Havana.
Rigoberto Rodriguez’ canvases are intimate portraits that rely on stark contrasts and a limited palette that combines dull and vibrant colors to draw out the tensions of the artist’s inner world.
His latest pieces, describing the end of a long, experimental journey, afford each individual spectator a kind of interpretative freedom, inviting gallery visitors to contemplate an artist immersed in an intense artistic search, an artist who returns their gaze and draws from them, from a reality that is at once different from and similar to theirs.
The few visual elements the artist places before our eyes suggest an unknown universe which can suddenly become familiar to those who regard it and feel, in turn, observed by it, who can understand it from the perspective that our condition as social beings has afforded us.
“(…) In my case, a kind of possessive impulse lies in wait in every corner, where living beings return to the spring that nourishes them, life itself”, we read in the exhibition catalogue.
Ernesto Cordova, on the other hand, begins from images of architectural structures and the contemplation of the city. According to the catalogue, the artist “(…) uses large canvases, as though seeking to push back the limits of the painting, investing the splashed-on colors with a unique dynamic tension (…)”, capturing and reflecting his impressions of the city of Havana, crumbling and exhausted with monochromatic images that show two or three gradations of gray.
The artist takes us into the city through references, made in the titles of the pieces, to specific events in classical history and their significance for humanity, Cuba’s collective memory and personal recollections.
The aim of these pieces is expounded on in the catalogue, where we read that “activating the mechanisms of our memory to shed light on the present is an obliged psychological exercise, a practice whereby our eyes, exhausted by the creative process, emerge from the fog and become witnesses of the everyday.”
“Be it through the phantasmagoric snapshots that surround us like elves who spy on us, jealous of the world we live in, a world full of tensions and anxieties which spill cathartically onto the canvas or paper, both of us are aware of this and have no other alternative than to capture a piece of reality and offer it as testimony of our times, times we try to portray on the canvas,” Rigoberto Rodriguez adds in the catalogue.
The formally-trained artists are known for their solo and group exhibitions, held in Cuba and abroad.
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