Drawings from the South of America II, Chapter: Venezuela

Henrique Faria Fine Art is pleased to present Drawings from the South of America II on the occasion of Master Drawings week in New York City. The exhibition will focus exclusively on Venezuelan artists with works from the 1960s to the present day. The exhibition will feature artworks by Marisol, Gerd Leufert, Gego, Carlos Zerpa, Yeni & Nan, Pedro Tagliafico, Claudio Perna, Carlos Castillo, Sigfredo Chacón, Andres Michelena, Valerie Brathwaite, Mercedes Elena González, Roberto Obregón, Emilia Azcárate, José Gabriel Fernández, Héctor Fuenmayor, Mariana Bunimov and Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck. The works selected from these distinguished artists demonstrate the diversity of technique and content applied to the paper medium over the course of the past fifty-five years and how the notion of ‘drawing’ has been expanded and revitalized.

Mercedes Elena González (Caracas, 1952) has worked with paper throughout her practice as she has honed her delicate and precise draftsmanship. Her two works in this exhibition, from early in her career, investigate the cellular process of mitosis, the division of a cell’s nucleus. In Mitosis (1976-77), the biomorphic cell structure is presented in a grid-like progression, where in each new stage a new detail emerges: its diaphanous ripples become fuller, imbued with an organic energy that resonates outwards. In Untitled (1977), González introduces soft, warm colors and focuses on a single form. González surrounds it with a light wash, creating a halo effect that elevates it from a microscopic scale to one that’s microcosmic. A similar feeling is elicited in Emilia Azcárate’s Smoke Drawings from 1999. The circular shapes etched into the paper by the smoke have a timeless quality, referencing the repetition of cycles, the inevitability of death and renewal.

Marisol, Yeni & Nan and Carlos Zerpa’s works are meant to evoke the body, or include it directly. Marisol’s Untitled (Kiss) from 1960 both disassembles and re-assembles the female body across the paper. Within the negative space, the viewer also engages in these exercises as s/he visualizes and composes the female body. The suggestive placement of long, nail-painted fingers and the use of vibrant colored pencil are playful, but within the context of the women’s liberation movement, also symbolizes objectification and conservative perspectives on the feminine appearance.Transfiguración elemento tierra (1983) by Yeni & Nan was installed at a performance of the same name in Caracas. Their deeply visceral work strives to draw connections between the human body and the natural environment that envelopes and nurtures it and this piece demonstrates the interactions between these various elements. Carlos Zerpa’s satirical coloring book Libro para: colorear, completar, recortar y armar… from 1983 is meant to physically involve the body in the act of drawing to complete the various scenes the artist began. However, the sinister inclusion of dangerous weapons and ominous instructions make it clear that these pages are not intended for a child but are rather a commentary on the pervasiveness of violence in everyday life and questions how desensitized society has become to its proliferation.

This exhibition will also include video works by Claudio Perna, Carlos Castillo and Mariana Bunimov, a photographic collage by Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck and a sculpture from Gego’s series Dibujo sin Papel. Although these artworks’ final presentations are not drawings on paper, they investigate how more traditional drawing techniques can be applied to other media. So while Carlos Castillo intervenes in filmic scenes of a city and Gego combines wires and metal into her ‘Drawing without Paper’, they are still defining space, constructing form and inserting color where these elements were not previously present.

Drawings from the South of America II, Chapter: Venezuela shows the versatility of such a common medium and the originality of the works conceived through the ever-evolving practice.