Carlos Gamez de Francisco is far from home. He left Cuba to start anew in Louisville, KY only three years ago and in that time period he has been very busy here filling several galleries and museums with his work. His current solo exhibit Black Portraits of Pomegranate Eaters is at the Swanson Contemporary until tomorrow (Feb. 18th). There will be a closing reception tonight (Feb. 17th) from 6-9 pm.
Gamez de Francisco draws in the style of the Baroque painters from days ago and like his predecessors he captures people in the most interesting expressions. These pseudoclassic portraits are rich in detail depicting the style and dress of the Renaissance in all its glory. The voluminous draping of fabric and the elaborate accessories are wholly excessive, but in a good way. The black decorative frames dress the pictures beautifully with a nod to the contemporary in the use of a high gloss finish.
Carlos Gamez de Francisco, "After Richard's Death ..."
As you study the fine crosshatched faces in these pieces, other objects come into view that indicates something is amiss and surreal about this era of elegance. Miniature penguins, insects and fruit swirl around the subjects like hallucinations and with the addition of little men being placed beside some of these characters schizophrenia becomes a concern. To further the psychological study of these prints most of the works from this exhibit are done entirely in black and white, which conjures up the images of the Rorschach test.
And what about those pomegranates? Gallery director Chuck Swanson said that he asked Gamez de Francisco about it and he told him that he had never seen a pomegranate before coming to the United States. Interesting enough, the portraits are void of any reference to the fruit with the exception of his eerie animation. Watch it here.
I will be interviewing Carlos Gamez de Francisco for my next Featured Artist. Look for it in March.
More photos on artintheblue.com.
Feature photo: Carlos Gamez de Francisco, "Grasshopper Over Head" 2011