An Intimate Complicity: Luis González Palma’s 20 Years of Looking Beyond
through December 31, 2014
This mini-retrospective at Sette Gallery’s new space is sweeping, and covers the Guatemalan artist’s work through the past 20 years. Through his career Palma has addressed the complexities that exist between the viewer and the subject. The issue of the gaze is loaded and, we experience a roller-coaster of subdued emotions when we see Palma’s work, old or new. It is perhaps most well-known to be melancholic and elegant. Truthfully it is. It is delicate and torn; it is tender and tragic; it is residual and enduring.
Palma’s work has always been hybridized. His diverse choice of media invests the work with power and charges it with intention. He has executed works that shimmer and shine in gold or silver leaf; are held together with red string or adorned with red ribbon; gridded or pieced together from original documents or torn prints; and has even encased transparent (kodalith) prints in resin.
The work has remained specific yet universal, addressing the struggles of people in Guatemala and Argentina, and using these troubled histories to reveal trespasses man has imposed upon man through human history. The works are as rife with implications, and its very existence is, as John Wood said in his introductory essay to Palma’s Poems of Sorrow, “The story [Palma] tells us can be read as a fable of human endurance, as a homily, or as a cautionary tale.” Then continues to unfold truth reminding us that “We are the ones who lace the thorns and skulls into the crowns of our children and lovers, and though we will eventually arrive at the boneyard, a clear-eyed view of human life, much of which is human pain, can serve as an amulet, as our coraza (shield), to protect us from despair” (p. 18). As the thorn, the work both wounds and protects.
It is no wonder then, that the artist’s new series, Möbius, involves juxtapositions and hybridity. These works draw on language of early 1900’s concretist/rationalist movement and Palma’s own magical realism. Palma intersects his portraits with geometrical arrangements in primary acrylics. The artist says of this series:
My aim with “Möbius” is to create works that allow for a new dialogue between my photographs, usually portraits loaded with emotion and subjective intensity, with abstract geometric painting elements referencing Latin American concretism… providing a rereading of the visual history of ideas from this side of the world, from its history and its contradictions.
We are offered yet another interpretation of Palma’s work and of history through Möbius’ layered aesthetic new contexts complexities, and plurality surfaces.
For more information on this exhibition, please visit Lisa Sette Gallery
Luis Gonzalez Palma, Las Ventanas de su Vestido
Courtesy of Lisa Sette Gallery