This exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Raiza Marina Contreras Blanco a.k.a La Negra 7/23/1951-9/29/2019 and Carlos Alberto Blanco a.k.a “El Quemao
A thing that is hoped or wished for but in fact is illusory or impossible to achieve.
In Alejandro Contreras’ second solo exhibition at the Mindy Solomon Gallery, he explores mortality and change. Having experienced the loss of his beloved mother and uncle in close proximity he used his artistry to process the pain, throwing himself into creating a frenetic and textural body of work. Having been afforded the opportunity to do a residency through Oolite South Florida at Anderson Ranch in Aspen, Colorado, Contreras inhabited the print studio and produced in a manner rarely seen. His energy and drive fueled by tragedy and loss.
Güelcome, meaning welcome in Venezuelan vernacular, is a swan song of sorts. Welcoming in the enormity of grief and processing the stages one must go through to learn to function and move forward in their daily lives without the presence of their loved ones. Ironically at a time of deep sadness, Contreras was offered admission to Columbia University in New York City for his Master of Fine Art’s degree. Closing up his studio and discarding works no longer of interest he has begun to assimilate the modus operandi of his art practice into a cohesive whole. Gathering works and destroying others is a metaphor for understanding loss in his life and moving forward in a positive way.
The laser cut woven prints in the exhibition are representative of the pieces he made while at Anderson Ranch. Taking ideas previously expressed through cut vinyl, the woven works are both dynamic and tactile. His larger vinyl, paint and shaved aluminum on metal pieces have a strong physical presence that speaks to his command of sculpture and his previous years as an art handler.
Utilizing large banners and dramatic wall paint, Contreras presents a show that is both elegy and rebirth; an opportunity to reckon with the past and make a dramatic visual leap forward.
Alejandro Contreras is a Venezuelan-born artist currently living and working between New York and Miami. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from University of Florida, New world School of the Arts and is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts from Columbia University.
Contreras’ body of work is rooted in material experimentation. His bold and dynamic multimedia explorations weave past and present artworks into an ever-evolving material dialogue; often transforming two-dimensional abstract paintings into three-dimensional sculptures.
He has been part of group and solo exhibitions at Mindy Solomon Gallery, Miami, FL; Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC; White Box, Harlem, NY; Frost Museum of Art, Miami, FL; McLoughlin Gallery, San Francisco, CA; Spinello Gallery Miami, FL; Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami, FL, among others. He recently completed the Home and Away residency sponsored by Oolite Arts at Anderson Ranch in Snowmass Colorado.
“Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.”
Mindy Solomon Gallery is pleased to present Swell a two-person exhibition of works by Kiyoshi Kaneshiro and John Gill. Kiyoshi, a 2018 graduate of Alfred University studied under John Gill, a professor at Alfred since 1984. An intense admiration developed and has subsequently resulted in this collaboration.
Looking at each artists’ work proves to be a fascinating dichotomy. Gill’s work is skillful and finely honed. Years of working in the studio has created a mastery of fabrication coupled with a playful control of the form and glazing. Gill is a lover of books and the history of ceramics. A lot of his choices are based on selecting ideas from the canon of the medium. He creates shapes that are whimsical and functional.
Kiyoshi Kaneshiro embodies the next generation of makers. Working in abstraction with “cups” and “vessels” that are not usable in the traditional sense. His surfaces are rough and smooth. Split, fractured and “broken”. Thick blobs of glaze pull in the base of a jar form that can only be viewed by looking inside. Vase forms are closed, orbs for gazing. The contrast between Kiyoshi’s textural works and Gill’s articulated pieces is fascinating. The student clearly loves the master but chooses his own path.
The art world can be a cold place, with each artist and gallery competing for a select group of people inclined to buy art. To see such love and generosity between two artists is heartwarming and meaningful. It shows that creativity in its truest form is about love.
Kiyoshi Kaneshiro (b. 1996, New York) received a BFA from Alfred University (2018). His work has been included in group exhibitions at Mindy Solomon Gallery, Miami (2018 & 2019); Anonymous Gallery, Paris (2019) and Steve Turner, Los Angeles (2019). He lives and works in Alfred, New York.
John Gill is a ceramic artist and educator. Gill is a professor of Ceramic Art at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. A member of the Council of the International Academy of Ceramics, he has travelled and lectured throughout the US, Canada and China. His work has been shown at the L.A.County Museum of Art; Grace Borgenicht Gallery, New York City; Harvey Meadows Gallery, Aspen; Kraushaar Gallery, New York City; Revolution Gallery, Detroit, Michigan; and Hadler Rodriquez Gallery in New York. Gill’s work is held in the permanent collections of numerous art museums including the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Newark Museum, New Jersey, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Gill’s work will be included in the upcoming exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, Shapes From Out of Nowhere. His work is featured on the cover of the catalog.
Mindy Solomon Gallery specializes in contemporary emerging and mid-career artists and art advisory services. The gallery represents artists working in painting, sculpture, photography, and video in both narrative and non-objective styles. The gallery program explores the intersection of art and design through an ongoing dialog between two and three-dimensional objects, while embracing diasporic voices. Utilizing the gallery space as a platform for inventive exhibitions, museum visitations, and public lectures, Solomon invites a sense of community and aesthetic enrichment.
Solomon founded the gallery in 2009 in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she established her reputation as a contemporary art dealer. She is a Board member of the Miami Art Dealers Association and is currently located in the Little River Arts District of Miami.