Carmen Banana (2012) Charcoal on Paper, 88 x 44 inches
Carmen Medusa (2012) Charcoal on Paper, 88 x 44 inches
Carmen Electra (2012) Charcoal on Paper, 88 x 44 inches
Turbulence, Charcoal on Paper, 42 x 51 inches
Views of the artist’s exhibition ” Tropicalia”
“Tropicalia” examines ideas of dislocation and exoticism through a series of large-scale drawings. Cross-cultural and hybrid identities are explored through obvious and clichéd aspects of tropical culture together with Rococo and Victorian style elements.
The struggle to imagine cultural specificity is inherent in the intersection of extravagant and decadent 17th and 18th century imagery (chandeliers, mirrors, velvet curtains) along with exuberant tropical landscapes. Different strategies are employed in order to subordinate the contradictory into a delicate and imaginative order, with the aim of questioning notions of place and belonging. As the past, the present, the exotic and the familiar collide, absurd and fantastic panoramas arise.
About his new work, Fuenmayor comments, “Both the large format and the use of charcoal to generate light have been essential in these new series. On one hand, it was important that the scale of the images be very close to the objects they referenced, considerably enlarging the size of the drawings. On the other hand, the drawings require much planning, since they start off from a completely white foundation, assigning both the light as well as the darkness, leading roles in the pieces. The dramatic use of light, with either flames or sparkles, is what formally and conceptually unites and gives life to the hybrid imagery”.
I explore ideas of hybridity, memory and visibility through traditional and non-traditional use of drawing. Different strategies are employed in my creative process in order to subordinate the contradictory into a delicate and imaginative order.
In the recent series of charcoal drawings, I explore ornamentation and its role in contemporary culture. Victorian style elements (such as chandeliers, mirrors and lamps), reminiscent of a decadent colonial past, proliferate from banana bunches, alluding to a tragic and violent history in “Banana Republics”. These hybrid images attempt to evidence the complicit and amnesic nature of ornamentation and its relationship to tragedy.
Gonzalo Fuenmayor was born in Barranquilla, Colombia in 1977. He received an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA in 2004, and a BFA in Fine Arts and Art Education from the School of Visual Arts in 2000, where he was awarded a full tuition scholarship from the Keith Haring Foundation. His drawings are included at the Drawing Center’s Flat Files, and has been awarded numerous awards including the Stacey Sussman Traveling Award in 2000, Silas Rhodes Family Award in 2000, and recently, granted Third place at the 2011 All-Media Juried Biennial at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, FL. Gonzalo Fuenmayor has exhibited in solo and group shows in the USA, Colombia and Europe; recently he participated at the “Encuentro 2009” sponsored by the Hemispheric Institute at Colombia’s National University, Colombia’s 42nd National Artist Salon- Caribbean Zone in 2009, ArteCámara 2010, Florida Contemporary 2011 at the Naples Museum in FL, and recently highlighted in the New American Paintings #88 South Edition as an Editor’s Pick. He currently lives and works in Miami, FL.