“This exhibition features three distinct viewpoints and pivots around a body of work I completed while under lockdown in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“For the past ten years I had a rhythm of painting still life in the spring and fall, Maine seascapes in the summer on location, and seascapes again in winter, from memory, in my studio. Over time, I explored the cross influence of the two genres: Acadian atmospheres and watery reflections found their way into the still lifes. Conversely, in the seascapes, I see the nearer foreground spaces such as rock formations and reflections in the water’s surface as compositional entries into the expansive sea and sky.
“This rhythm of working led to an idea to create a body of paintings in Old San Juan, PR. I hoped to explore the fluidity of interior and exterior spaces in Spanish Caribbean architecture and to connect with my identity as a first generation Cuban American. Through this project I aspired to understand, approximately at best, the culture of my father’s childhood in Cienfuegos, Cuba during the 1940’s and 50’s. My sense of this culture, known only through stories and photographs, was lost when my father was killed at the World Trade Center on September 11.
“The plan was to paint in Old San Juan for the month of March 2020. However, by March 15 th Puerto Rico had gone on total lockdown, and I found myself sheltering-in-place for over five months in the terrace apartment that I had rented on Calle Sol. I got to know every inch of my terrace and their respective vantage points over the historic city and distant mountains. I would lean over the edges of the walls to peer down into Calle Sol and a nearby alley populated with cats and mango trees. There is a sense of hope and brightness in the joyful candy-colored palette of Old San Juan. Pondering the bright blue sky, complex cloud formations, passing storms in the distance above the mountains, and incredible rainbows was like meditating on a more essential reality.
“My eventual return to Brooklyn mid-summer resulted in an evolution in my studio still life work. I could not refrain from inviting the enchanting colors of Old San Juan into the still life world of my Brooklyn studio. Recalling endless afternoons looking into the setting sun over the mountains and bay of San Juan, I set up still lifes with the window behind them, contra jour, and looked for symphonies of color in the dark silhouettes before me.
“In this intense time, we are all exploring views from "Here" as an ambiguous place, visited via computer screens and socially limited lifestyles. In this show, I invite people to share the view that despite the darkness we are all experiencing, we can always embrace the beauty of what is right in front of us.”
Christine Lafuente is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and received her certificate in painting from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. After spending years in Philadelphia whereshe was artist-in-residence at the Fleisher Art Memorial, Lafuente moved to Brooklyn and completed her MFA at Brooklyn College in 2004. She has exhibited her work throughout the Mid-Atlantic region in numerous solo shows and had a solo exhibition in London, England in 2008. Lafuente has been represented by the Gross McCleaf Gallery since 2002.
“Plastic letters on my fridge, Jupiter and Thetis, bananas, Pepsi, Giotto, Soft Scrub, Hearst Castle, a ducky float, a flag, a fridge. Images from my domestic life, from advertising, from The Cannon. Images we scroll and stroll by daily, images we venerate, images we ignore.
"My paintings are locations through which thoughts, objects and images pass. I am a process painter... I cannot arrive at a new place without forcing my hands to move and move toward that which I could not otherwise seek. The pretense of objectivity is foolishness. But with humility, through the work I discover a new location and hope. . .
"My goal in these experiments was to combine images which clashed so extremely in both form and meaning--the sacred with the banal-- that it would be impossible to project an outcome.”
Joseph Lozano's paintings exist in the world of dreams and stream of consciousness writing. The artist pieces together subjects, objects and scenes that originate from diverse sources. He takes fragments from art historical paintings, pop cultural references and items from his personal environment, creating combinations that are humorous, absurd and at times disorienting. As these unexpected juxtapositions appear on the canvas, relationships between the objects begin to develop. The viewer observes a logical, if improbable narrative, including the appearance of playful opposites and visual puns and is invited by the artist into a private world of relationships that had not previously existed.
Formally complex, each work boasts a range of colors, values and intricate design. Lozano intentionally employs a variety of paint application techniques, both meticulous and expressive, to elicit a variety of emotions in the viewer. These moments serve to further the tension between what is familiar and what seems to be just beyond the grasp of the viewer.
Joseph Lozano received a Certificate from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2007 and his Master of Fine Art in 2009. He has an extensive exhibition record in regional galleries and his work can be found in many private and public collections, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts museum collection. He is the recipient of the J.M.C. Purchase Prize and the Women’s Board Scholarship for European Travel. Lozano lives and works in Philadelphia and has been represented by Gross McCleaf Gallery since 2013.
Celebrating la primavera, Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to present Bouquet, an exhibition that delights in flowers! Works featured are by Melanie Fischer, Kati Gegenheimer, Eileen Goodman, Elizabeth Hamilton, Ying Li, Jonathan Mandell, Irene Mamiye, Lynn Muchnick, Scott Noel, Barbara Sosson, and Frank Trefny.
The artists present their contemporary blooms through assorted mixed media such as 3-D sculpture, mosaic lapidary, textiles, paper, oil paint, photography, watercolor and VR digital collage. At times, the viewers are drawn into the unapologetically romantic world of bouquets and gardens, while in other instances they are offered a window into the unruliness of nature. Some of the works explore perception itself through the use of trompe l’oeil and virtual reality, while others incorporate playful motifs using pattern and design. Overall, there is a consistent focus on the positive radiance of flowers, whether closely observed or through tactile interaction.