ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries, which has regularly scheduled exhibitions of master and mid-career Latin American artists since it opened in 1974, has combined the two in a show titled “Latin American Masters of Today and Tomorrow.”
Included are original works by masters Roberto Matta, Amelia Pelaez, Elmar Rojas and Francisco Zuñiga. Mid-career artists represented include the well-known Cuban artists José Bedia, Roberto Fabelo, Manuel Mendive, and José Angel Vincench.
Dominating one gallery wall is “Zintkála Chanupa, Pájaro Pipa,” a 10-foot painting by the internationally renowned Bedia, who took first place in painting at the IV Beijing International Art Biennale last October.
Fabelo is represented by a four-by-five foot watercolor of a mature nude woman wearing a bronze bird-beak war helmet, red high-heeled pumps, and strap-on wings astride a rooster with prominent spurs, a characteristically surreal example of his work.
In his first exhibition at this gallery, Vincench has two four- foot square canvases from his new series on dissidents in his homeland, which will be presented in a solo exhibition starting in November. According to author Darys J. Vázquez Aguiar, “Vincench teaches us the power of words, of the ordinary phrase or the written commentary, of ethical sentences that separate good from evil. Letters are sacred messages, voices repeated through time to remind us that there are such things as eternal truths.”
Included in this show are canvases by Antonio Amaral of Brazil; a collage painting by Victor Chab and two mixed media works by Mateo Arguello Pitt, both from Argentina; oils on linen by Gustavo Schmidt of Chile and Marco Tulio of Colombia; and an important large canvas by Sergio Garval of Mexico.
Schmidt, also making his premiere appearance in an ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries exhibition, is showing a crystal sphere that floats in front of a draping fabric above an arrangement of eggs, a work of magic realism in dreamy tones of mauve.
José Benito of Argentina is represented by a wood construction and two mixed-media assemblage works. One of the latter, the eight-by-five-foot “Obsesiones Privadas,” includes a figure surrounded by slate-gray elements such as an easel, palette and book.
A tabletop sculpture in mahogany, oak, teak and cedar is by Melquiades Rosario Sastre, professionally known as Melquiades. In his article in Arte al Día online, critic Ricardo Pau Llosa calls him “not only Puerto Rico’s most important contemporary sculptor (but also) one of the finest contemporary artists anywhere.”
Paul-Llosa goes on to note that Melquiades has not simply rejected the current theoretical underpinnings of most contemporary art, but “is a thinking man who bases his creativity on reflection and not simply on enacting the dicta of this or that current trend. He is a sculptor of ideas, not an illustrator of passing notions.”