Art of the Day: Luis Cruz Azaceta, “Swimming to Havana II”, 2009

  May 4th, 2011

 
 
 
       (click to enlarge)
 
 
 
       Luis Cruz Azaceta, Swimming to Havana II, 2009, acrylic, charcoal, oil stick, shellac on canvas

 
 
 
 
 
 
      Another Azaceta — I was still haunted by the last piece of his I featured while I went looking for something to write about today, so I went straight back to his work and quickly found another example of why I like his style so much: “Swimming to Havana II”. In this piece’s frame-filling, enigmatic, primitive, machine-beast presence there’s something here of the Ernst of “Ubu Imperator” and “The Elephant Celebes”, the Duchamp of the “Chocolate Grinder No. 2″, and all sortsa Picabia. I love those pieces for much the same reason I’m drawn to the Azaceta: the big visual statement thud, the unsettling proximity to some gnomic apparatus, a compelling/weird spirit of secrets & alien logic that just needs the right attention & effort to unlock, a feeling of being caught out in the gray void by this suddenly-looming contraption creature.
      But this piece offers more than just echoes of a handful of marquee Dadaists & Surrealists. You also have those lovely bands of playful color contrasted with the sad & defeated narrative implied by the combination of the title and the wee little swimmer diving deeper (back?) into the forbidding maze-machine he thinks/hopes he’s fleeing. All of this adds rich & directly-emotional layers to the work. Borrowing from the mystery of the Surrealists, mixing in explicit personal/political commentary — thereby managing to have yr work come off as neither agitprop nor hermetic bizzaroscape but potent mixture of the two — that’s how you process the past & make it your own.
 
 
 
 
 Please check out more of Azaceta’s art over at Arthur Roger Gallery.

 
 
All writing © copyright C. Way / Snailcrow.com 2011

[posted by C Way at 9:35 PM]

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