Abstractionism and Latinx Artists, The New BRIC Exhibition

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Photo courtesy of bricartsmedia.org

Often, when we talk about abstractionism in art, our mental catalog goes to the brushstrokes and color stains that seem unintelligible.

For art lovers, memory also resorts to names such as Wassily Kandinsky or Juan Gris and their early 20th century works in Europe.

As defined by the Tate Gallery, “abstract art is art that does not attempt to represent an accurate depiction of a visual reality but instead uses shapes, colors, forms, and gestural marks to achieve its effect.”

In the United States, abstractionism was adapted to the post-World War II period in the so-called Abstract Expressionism movement, developed primarily in New York in the 1940s.

Art history draws a chronological line through artists such as Martha Graham, Jackson Pollock, Isamu Noguchi, and Mark Rothko, but has often left out the names of Hispanic artists who have also been part of the style.

That’s why the leading Brooklyn-based arts and media institution, BRIC, has decided to organize an innovative exhibition that “asserts the enduring legacy of abstraction among Latinx artists,” as reported by Broadway World.

Under the title Latinx Abstract, the exhibition focuses on nine contemporary artists working with various media and approaches and their dedication to abstract languages.

As explained on the BRIC website, the exhibition includes work by figures who are relatively young and whose careers span little more than a decade, to those who have been active for a half-century or more. 

“This cross-generational representation is central to the exhibition, demonstrating that abstraction is an enduring, if overlooked, trend among Latinx artists. These artists produce work that falls outside expected notions of ‘Latinx art’ if such a category even exists,” they explain. 

Exhibition artists include Candida Alvarez, Karlos Carcamo, Alejandro Guzman, Glendalys Medina, Freddy Rodriguez, Fanny Sanin, Mary Valverde, Vargas-Suarez Universal, and Sarah Zapata.

The curatorship reveals a wide range of sources and influences beyond the artistic works close to the canons of the last century, including more individual and idiosyncratic sources, such as indigenous American cultures, mathematics, astronomy, and computer science, as well as popular culture.

BRIC will announce public programming for Latinx Abstract at a later date. A fully illustrated exhibition catalog with essays in English and Spanish by Ferrer and art historian Joseph Wolin will be published in March 2021.