Tuesday, July 30, 2013

GIOVANNI VALDERAS at Cohn Drennan Contemporary

Soft Power, 2013, mixed media on panel, 30 x 22.75 inches

ModernDallas.net re-post of my article.

When collage entered the art scene a little over a hundred years ago, artist Hannah Höch, would create random cut out images to tell a suggestive story. Picasso and Braque used cut and glue elements as part of their designs.

Later, random images of Rauschenberg and Touchon crossed broad abstract concepts that played as a background to some moment of time narratives. Giovanni Valderas uses his collage element to create a narrative or portrait of his subjects. You feel that Valderas is focusing in on the personalities of his figures, though he has taken a step back from purely personal stories by adding a sense of mystery and ambiguity.

You might say that Giovanni Valderas is moving a bit past collage by pushing his paintings into the territory of sculpture. There has been an interesting trend of hybrid works. 500x’s own Bernardo Cantu comes to mind as someone that perfectly balances painting and sculpture as a mixed form. And I think Valderas has risen to the same level of skill, while doing something completely different. CentralTrak had a show just recently about this very phenomena of hybridizing these forms, only Valderas and Cantu would have been far superior examples of the trend than the artists they had up.

One thing that struck me about Valderas new work is that you get a sense that his paintings are to break apart at any moment. These are not poorly constructed works, but they do remind me of early Claes Oldenburg sculptures. Not the monumental, clean works he did later in his career, but the goopy, simulated food objects that felt half baked as an idea and by some miracle worked as an art piece. Valderas miraculous objects sometimes defy gravity. Sticks are attached by colorful tape, which remind me of those old erector sets. These sculptural elements activate the space while replacing hands, hair, or even fur. Also, you get the feeling that Valderas is throwing everything at his work to see what will succeed. From stitching, to glue, paint, and even paper mache; I am sure Valderas feels he has just scratched the surface of material he wants to try.

to see more. I guess I should go to the Art League Houston show coming down this Friday. You only have until this Saturday to see his work at Cohn Drennan Contemporary. Sorry for the last minute notice, but I had to write about such an innovative show.

ModernDallas.net for more images.

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