Past Exhibits at El Taller: 2006 and 2007
TURIZZO ANAYA: Awakening
November 8 - December 20 2007
El Taller Latino Americano's Grady Alexis Gallery presents "Awakening", an exhibition of paintings and mixed media by Colombian artist Turizzo Anaya. This collection explores the artist's focus on natural elements and symbols and will be on display from November 8 to December 20th, 2007.
As a child, Turizzo grew up in the region Bolivar, a rain forest some distance from Cartagena, away from the civilized world. This seems to have cultivated in him a profound connection to the natural world and its history. This relationship is a thread running through much of his work. "I'm in a place between nature and my imagination. Nature is there but my imagination takes nature and creates new shapes," Turizzo explains.
Turizzo's work focuses heavily on the natural world and the history of its peoples, and spans ancient times to the present day reflecting always the isolation and mystery of the jungle, his remote childhood home. "As a boy, I did not live in the city. We had no electricity. Our lights were from flames."
His heavy emphasis on symbolic elements inhabits his images both the obvious and more subtle. He wants the viewer to see his works as multi-layered but also as reflecting the elemental and universal. "I want people focusing on the paintings, the meanings and the symbols. I believe there are many things people don't see because they are not aware that they are supposed to find such things."
With such a thoughtful and reflective approach toward natural settings, Turizzo does not shy away from portraying darker elemental forces such as greed and a human tendency for self-destruction. But present too in Turizzo's work are other, more promising forces. "There is always hope," he says. "I can't just paint violence and suffering and no hope. If there is no hope, there is nothing."
Turizzo's work has been exhibited extensively in the United States, England and Latin America since 1972. He has been selected by the Metropolitan Transit Authority of New York for mural projects in subway stations and given special mention by the VII Salon of Visual Arts in Colombia, and numerous other awards throughout his exhibition history.
Veronica Aberham, Gallery Director, organized the exhibition and curates "Awakening".
ANDREA ARROYO: Venus Recaptured
September 14 - October 26 2007
El Taller Latino Americano presents "Venus
Recaptured", an exhibition of a print series by award-winning Mexican-
born artist Andrea Arroyo. The series celebrates her paintings,
which focus on femininity and its related historical perceptions.
The exhibit runs from September 14 to October 26 in conjunction with
Hispanic Heritage Month.
With a significant background in modern dance, Arroyo pays particular
interest to the shape and motion of the female body, which she
describes as "beautiful, alive and full of movement." Many of the
works in the exhibit have roots in history and mythology depicting
female characters from various cultures and with internal
Arroyo finds the similarities and differences between women in her
paintings. One painting portrays Malinche, Cortez's interpreter. The
negative perception of this character Arroyo feels is not necessarily
justified. "I think she used her power in order to survive." Arroyo
makes an effort to focus on influential women who have shaped the
course of history. "To me it's basically a celebration of life and
everything that is feminine."
Andrea Arroyo's work has been exhibited extensively with select
pieces currently in collections of The Smithsonian Institute, The
Library of Congress, The National Museum of American History, The New
York Public Library, and others. Arroyo is a celebrated Latina and
received a New York City Council Citation for Achievement in Art for
her contributions to the art community and community at large. She
was also named the Official Artist of the 7th Latin Grammy Awards,
and an Outstanding Latina of the Year.
Veronica Aberham, Gallery Director, organized the exhibition and curates "Venus Recaptured".
ALBERTO VILLA-LOBOS: Murals, Music, and Masks of Mexico
July 6 - August 30 2007
El Taller presents "Murals, Music, and Masks of Mexico," the solo debut of Alberto Villa-Lobos,
a young visual artist, painter, and musician from Veracruz, Mexico. His series of hand-painted
masks and murals celebrate the culture of Mexico, especially Veracruz. The evenings of August 2 and August 30 will feature musical performances by Villa-Lobos and his brothers.
Drawing upon both his formal musical education and his grass-roots exposure to the visual and
musical folk traditions of Veracruz, Villa-Lobos' works are as distinctive and intricate as
his own life. His collection of masks draws upon politics, culture, and nature to form one
unique body of work. "They could be considered a collection but also separate entities,"
says Villa-Lobos. One mask, "Marcos," gives tribute to the leader of an important revolutionary
movement in Mexico. ?Marcos is the public voice of the Zapatistas, a group of indigenous
people fighting to be recognized. I admire his determination. He is a living legend in Mexico."
The series of murals depict a trio of older musicians from Huasteca, a region of Veracruz,
who play both violins and traditional "jarana" guitars. "I just loved the music they played
and it's really beautiful to realize that the wisdom of their music comes from life and
not from school." Villa-Lobos sees the theme of the exhibit as his own passion for native
music and the life of Veracruz. "That's what I'm trying to communicate using pure bright
colors. And to see my work and music together in one place will be a magnificent experience."
Villa-Lobos is also an accomplished violinist and musician. With his brothers he has performed
at Carnegie Hall and at the 2006 Latin Grammy Awards. The brothers will perform again in special
concerts to open and close of the show. "We all are singer/songwriters and we have a nice
mixture of traditional music and original songs," says Villa-Lobos, "a beautiful gift for
everybody who attends the exhibition.
Veronica Aberham, Gallery Director, organized the exhibition and curates "Murals,
Music, and Masks of Mexico".
OTTO FRANZ KRONE: The Emerging Man – A Life's Work
April 20 - June 9 2007
El Taller presents, "Otto Franz Krone – The Emerging Man – A Life's Work," an exhibition by the late artist, which runs from April 20th to June 9th, 2007. This expansive collection, which explores and celebrates Krone's obsession with faces and originality, will be on display in the city that finally gave the rootless artist a home.
Krone, born Eugene W. Hahn in Ohio in 1924 to an alcoholic boxer and artist housewife, spent most of his childhood in orphanages. A self-taught artist who worked in every medium, Krone found both personal escape and salvation in the faces he drew. His early pain was eclipsed by the brutality of World War II where he served in the 82nd and 101st Airborne, earning a Purple Heart as he gained an education in anguish.
He says it was the war that changed his art from portraits to visages of agony. Described by loved ones as a deeply passionate and compassionate man who carried a deep sadness within him, Otto spoke of the cluster of faces which would become "The Emerging Man" as "nightmare, all these faces would be talking, moving, crying, laughing and shouting." He painted the people crowding his mind to purge himself, literally painting them out of his mind. His true empathy and genuine love for people enabled him to express their sorrow as he articulated his own. When he spoke of the faces he saw and the unsmiling images he sketched and painted, one senses that he was also talking about, and painting, himself. Ultimately, his life's work is a journey – through orphanages, battlefields and prisons – and what finally emerges is a journey through the mind of a man for whom art was his whole life.
Veronica Aberham, Gallery Director, organized the exhibition and curates "The Emerging Man".
GILBERT ORTIZ: Back to New York
February 23 - April 2 2007
Gilbert Ortiz is a master of capturing tone and light in his compositions. His images are as diverse and timeless as the city itself, encompassing portraits of famous faces, artists, the working class and working poor; craftsmen, people of different cultures, landmarks and hidden gems; all taken while Ortiz lived and worked in the city he felt "he owned." Images of places that no longer exist, like Welfare Island, are featured alongside shots of gone but not forgotten faces like Muhammad Ali. Ortiz is a traditionalist, yet his prints will be bridging current technologies; the original images were shot exclusively on film and printed using the digital technology Ortiz has mastered. The show is very much about his ability to communicate his experiences of New York as eternal. The details change, but the street is always the street. Something NYers know well - despite the discomfort of that fact.
The exhibition pays homage to New York as it was while also reaching out to New Yorkers of today, whether they are natives, transplants or just passing through. Ortiz feels he lived in New York at its uniquely best and worst time. Worst in economic terms and best for the fact it was very free and loose, a time when just about anyone could reside in New York and it was just another place to live and to do your work. Ortiz himself says, "I owe a lot to New York and these images show New York at the time I was there 1970-2000. That's sort of what I want to give to people who live there now. New York is a city that embraces the artist; it embraces the young; it's one of the greatest places in the world."
Gilbert Ortiz got his start working for commercial photographer Richard Beattie. He has worked with sports figures ranging from Muhammad Ali to Freddie Roach, musicians Keith Richards and Tom Waits, and activist Cesar Chavez. He has collaborated with filmmaker Pablo Ferro, animators Vincent Caferelli, Fred Mogubgub and comic book artist Wallace Wood. His work has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, Time Magazine and on ABC's Emmy Award winning show, "FYI." He now resides back in his hometown of Los Angeles, California where he has recently shown work in solo and group exhibits. He is also staff photographer for Chicano Art Magazine.
Veronica Aberham, Gallery Director, organized the exhibition and curates "Back to New York".
MI VIDA LOCA: Paño Drawings by Chicano Prisoners
October 13 - November 30 2006
MI VIDA LOCA is an exhibit of paños from the San Antonio, Texas penal institutions. These simple cotton handkerchiefs have been transformed by Chicano inmates into drawings of expressive power and emotion offering a glimpse into a little known and complex world. Most of these paños were made in the middle to late 1990's when the art form thrived in Texas prisons. They were mailed to inmates' mothers or other family members as letters from jail. Many of these artworks were not intended to be seen outside the inner circle of their creators. Yet as they have entered the international art world paños have captured the imagination of a far wider audience than their creators could have imagined...
Rich in symbolism from their time both inside and outside prison walls, paños are built on a visual narrative that invites closer examination. These works include symbolic images drawn from Southwestern Chicano culture as well as from the artists' Mexican heritage. These simple handkerchiefs have been transformed into epic stories involving lowriders, the Virgin of Guadalupe, weeping mothers and girlfriends, drug abuse, and dual-faced masks, to name but a few of the symbolic representations that fill this medium. Thus each paño tells a story, distinct from all others but connected through a shared artistic language.
MI VIDA LOCA is curated by Martha V. Henry, who also organized, curated and wrote the catalog for the first traveling museum exhibition of paño art, ART FROM THE INSIDE: Paño Drawings by Chicano Prisoners in 2004.