Rafael Torres Correa - A Dialogue with Landscape

Opening Reception: Tuesday December 2nd, 6-8 PM

In partnership with the Cultural Service of the Embassy of France, Cross MacKenzie Gallery is pleased to announce the upcoming exhibition of paintings by the Cuban-born French-national, Rafael Torres Correa. 

Originally from Havana, this international artist has widely exhibited his work in Mexico, Spain and France.  This will be his first solo exhibition in Washington, D.C. and we are proud to introduce his powerful work to the DC community. 

Rafael Torres Correa creates lyrical universes in his large abstract canvases.  His paintings evoke memories – symbolic and emotional – and conjure imagined experiences of water and floating islands with their shifting imagery and fluid focus.  Like Proust, Torres Correa’s scenes are sensuous and dream like, but his vehicle of mental transport is visual rather than aromatic.  As uncertain shapes emerge, the viewer can almost perceive the contour of a distant land reminding us of the artist’s Cuban roots in every watery surface. These landscapes are transitory territories and shifting metaphors – a state that parallels the artist’s own migrations and cultural identity. 

His mixed media technique is as liquid as the subject – the canvases appear practically wet. The artist’s palette is often that of the sea, deep turquoises and blues punctuated by flashes of hot color like reflective sunlight. This mesmerizing sense of depth in the work is achieved through overlaying washes, drips, dabs and splashes of paint. Torres Correa’s emotionally moving forms can venture into dark and haunting terrain.  One senses exploding stars in outer space or shadows on the distant surface from the bottom of the ocean. These paintings capture and displace us.

Ultimately, the paintings are grounded in the immediate time and space of Rafael Torres Correa’s studio by revealing the outlines of the ceramic floor tiles embedded into the first layer of the canvases.  The visible imprint of the decorative interlocking patterns in the paintings, reassures us and bring us back to the intimate space where Rafael Torres Correa creates these compelling works of art. 


On view until Saturday November 29th


Matt Vis & Tony Campbell : Generic Art Solutions

Read the review in The Washington Post.

Cross MacKenzie Gallery, in collaboration with Mindy Solomon Gallery in Miami, and Jonathan Ferrara Gallery in New Orleans, presents this exhibition of photographs by the collaborating partners Matt Vis and Tony Campbell who practice as “Generic Art Solutions” on view during FOTOWEEK DC. 

This New Orleans-based art duo use nearly every art medium as they examine the recurring themes of human drama and the (dis)functions of contemporary society.  Always rooted in performance, they play every character in their work. In their more distilled “duets” we see something of a yin and yang (a balance between individuals that aren’t quite interchangeable), but in their more elaborate “stageings” the result is as epic as the subject matter itself.  By combining Classical, Romantic, and Baroque compositional elements with contemporary pictorial techniques, they manage to illuminate the common thread that connects past histories with current events. This strategy creates something of a “Déjà Vu effect” that is often driven by the well-known works of art they reference. 

In this dialogue between the past and present the viewer realizes several things: 1) that the history of art is inextricably political, 2) that human behavior repeats itself no matter how tragic or brutal, and 3) that this cycle of repetition must be broken so personal and societal progress can be made. Despite all this, their work contains a glimmer of hope and an element of levity.

Their public performances certainly contain their most humorous and irreverent commentary on the function of art and contemporary life itself. More absurd than comical, their performances engage the audience by playing carefully developed roles with a specific task at hand. Their best-known and longest-running performance is the “International Art Police”, or the “Art Cops”. They outfit themselves in authentic police uniforms (complete with badges, police cruiser, and special ticket books) and take to the streets with the mission of “Safeguarding Art Communities Worldwide”. They patrol art galleries, and museums looking for suspicious art activities and issue  “Notice of Violation” fines for work deemed “Too Art School”, “Formulaic”, “Too Trendy”, or “Even I Could Do That” infractions.   Washington DC’s extensive museum culture could very well be fertile ground for Generic Art Solutions’ passionate engagement with art history.

Our upcoming exhibitions for the 2014-2015 season will include works in ceramics, painting, and photography, as well as collaborative shows with the Cultural Service of the Embassy of France and Ferrin Contemporary. 

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