Friday, May 25, 2012

The Strange and Beautiful

Stumbling upon the PBS broadcast of The Enchanted Island last weekend, I was reminded of how intensely some producers seek to offer the strange and the beautiful.

As something that might pleasure an audience for the full 90 minutes or more that the show is running.

Gallery paintings only need catch the eye or tweak the mind for a few seconds, and causing intense discomfort through the banal and ugly is a frequent strategy for accomplishing that.

But Arturo Herrera is an artist who's also an opera fan, so he seems to be striving for the kind of theatrical beauty that glues you to your seat in astonishment.

With the opportunity it provides to instantaneously make surprising juxtapositions, collage seems a direct path to the strange and the beautiful.

This series of pieces is dedicated to a choreographer friend of his - and yes, the colorful fragments certainly seem to be dancing within the confines of a strongly defined proscenium.

The dance continues in this series, but it might have been better had he cultivated the skills of figure drawing so he wouldn't have needed to nearly obliterate the half-figure that he has drawn in the center.

And to demonstrate his diversity, here's some dream-like visions of Chicago where he lived for a few years before a DAAD grant took him to Berlin.

It's not exactly a travel poster is it?

But still, it has its own kind of spacious and aggressive beauty, appropriate for those high-rise apartments that overlook the lake.

As a fine art professional in the contemporary artworld, it's not especially his job to make things beautiful.

Happily, he seems to have dropped the imagist Disney-pop-cartoony stuff after he left Chicago, though the larger pieces in this show have enough of a tedious all-over ABX clutter for those who seek profundity in discomfort.


Blogger Marly said...

I don't know this artist... Is there a lot of texture to these? They don't come off that way here.

July 04, 2012  
Blogger chris miller said...

I'm so glad you took advantage of the holiday, Marly, to waste a few minutes in blogland.

Regarding texture in these pieces, there's a hint here and there - but yes, he's mostly working with the kind of flatness that would be appropriate for reproduction - even if each piece is unique.

July 05, 2012  

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