Intricate Calligraphies - Works by Bonevardi, Díaz, Lanzarini and Terán
INTRICATE CALLIGRAPHIES exhibits drawings by four contemporary artists who work obsessively with very small and intricate elements. The conductive thread is the precision and meticulous execution they bring to their work.
Instead of lines, Gustavo Bonevardi uses letters to “draw” objects, trees, and landscapes. His ‘sheets of paper’ drawings, with scattered letters, lose all that was written on them. Words disintegrate, and with them go their meanings, lost irretrievably. When he uses watercolors, the letters dissolve into colorful abstract shapes. Letters might be on the verge of landing on pages to form words, or might be flying off and away. Or both, or neither - in any case there is no text, just the elements of it: letters and paper.
Bonevardi explains that his use of letters to draw pictures, instead of writing text, forces letters to function in a wholly different way, one that he is more at home with. For Bonevardi “these drawings are like a writing assignments freed from the tyranny of spelling, punctuation and grammar, systems seemingly devised by petty bureaucrats to foil attempts to communicate.” 1
Gustavo Díaz can be a miniaturist; the building blocks of his delicate pencil compositions titled Recurring Systems are quarter inch by eighth inch rectangles that are repeated by the hundreds in agglomerations of varying density. These drawings are so subtle that they are almost impossible to photograph.
Díaz bases his work on the mathematical and scientific theories about uncertainty and chaos of René Thom, Gilles Deleuze, Joseph Faurier and Ilya Prigogine, among others.
Argentine critic Patricia Rizzo wrote of the “romantic notion of rigorous craftsmanship” in Díaz work 2. Although he uses a computer to prepare a work, the execution is strictly manual and requires the utmost care. The smallest mistake and the work is discarded. Each phase in Díaz’s development has added complexity and larger scale; he is now working on a 21 x 14 meter mural commission for a new building in Buenos Aires.
Ricardo Lanzarini says that when he starts a drawing he never premeditates any representation, they just happen as he goes along. Although he maintains that there is no description of geographical location or landscape, he was marked in his childhood by the military dictatorship in Uruguay. His experience of oppression is reflected in his detailed swarms of miniature figures that when viewed up close (a magnifying glass may be helpful), are as Lanzarini put it: “enraged mad men abusing others, sex and cries mingling to form a pack that attempts to mark its territory.”
Grace Glueck noted “his characters look as if they are exiled from a place or a time period, a comment on the vicissitudes of daily life in a time of global uncertainties and displacements.” 3 Many figures are naked, while others’ identity is revealed by their outfits, many wear a military cap, and many carry a suitcase, which Lanzarini maintains tells us about their voyage among us.
These tiny figures are drawn in ink; sometimes color is introduced by using pencil shavings, and sometimes relief is incorporated by Lanzarini in the scheme of the work, such as a small figure in delicate tissue paper that literally stands out from the crowd.
Julian Terán was born in a small town on the plains of Buenos Aires Province where the horizon is a long, straight line. His interest in the texture of the landscape led him to study maps and map making. To plan his compositions Terán uses a software program for drawing elevations on maps, but then by hand executes them in ink.
His latest series of works, titled Hot Spots, are large horizontal drawings of undulating lines, which are related to cartography. The surface he depicts in these drawings, Terán explained, is like the skin or a mantle; dividing the inside from the outside spaces. We intuitively know what is hidden under the surface by the way it is agitated from the depths. What is underneath shapes the surface, in a similar way to how veins bulge the skin, or like magma roiling under the earth, creating islands or mountain ranges when it erupts.
1 Conversation with the artist, 2011
2 Patricia Rizzo, “Estructuras disipativas: un punto en el infinito” in exhibition catalogue Universos Hipoteticos, Proyecto A, September, 2009
3 Grace Glueck, “Art Review; Working Words Into Images, Artists Become Storytellers.” September 24, 2004
b. 1960, New York City – lives in New York City
Trained as an architect with a degree from Princeton University, Gustavo Bonevardi’s artistic practice ranges from the meticulous to the monumental. Working on a small scale, Bonevardi is known for his “letter drawings,” graphite images in which a multitude of minute, yet precise letters of the alphabet tumble, spill, and stretch their way across the paper’s surface, creating undulating patterns or precise forms which, when viewed from a distance, conceal their miniscule components.
Bonevardi draws on his architectural background when working on his large-scale urban projects. These include the memorial, Tribute in Light (conceived in 2001 and illuminated each year in New York City in commemoration of September 11th), and 10,000 Flower Maze (2011). This later work, a temporary project commissioned for Shenzhen's Citizen Plaza in China, was inspired by the European maze garden commissioned by Emperor Qialong in 1756. The work consisted of thousands of orange traffic safety cones arranged in patterns across the public space.
In 2015, his latest body of work was shown in a solo exhibition, Fictions, at Cecilia de Torres, Ltd. His large-scale drawing, Falling (2007-2009), was recently included in the first group exhibition ever to be held at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City, entitled Rendering the Unthinkable: Artists Respond to 9/11.
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and China Project Installation Photos
b. 1969, Buenos Aires, Argentina – lives in Houston, Texas
Drawing on such esoteric concepts as Ilya Prigogine's chaos theory, non-Euclidian geometry, and the behavior of hyper-complex systems, Gustavo Díaz uses diverse media to create artworks that reflect his education in art, music, and science. Before deciding to dedicate himself fully to art making, Díaz studied at the Escuela Técnica Otto Krause and at the Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Industrial in his native Argentina. This background, as well as his continued studies in mathematics, philosophy, and other fields, inform the intricate lines and complex structures of his drawings, acrylic sculptures, and reliefs.
In 2001, Díaz received the Banco Ciudad Foundation Prize from the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, and in 2002 he co-founded NOUS, a Center of Art and Design dedicated to interdisciplinary scientific research. In 2013, the artist's work was featured at ExpoChicago, where he was named Artforum's “Critics' Pick.” Two years later, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston included Díaz's work in an exhibition entitled Cosmic Dialogues: Selections from the Latin American Collection, which focused on artistic explorations of space and light. The show was curated by Mari Carmen Ramírez, MFAH Wortham Curator of Latin American Art and Director of the International Center for Arts of the Americas (ICAA).
Díaz's work has been shown in both group and solo exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), TX; the Museo Valenciano de la Ilustración y la Modernidad in Valencia, Spain; as well as other exhibition spaces throughout the United States and Argentina.
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b. 1977, La Plata, Argentina – lives in Buenos Aires
Julián Terán grew up in Monte, a rural town in the province of Buenos Aires, where the artist continues to reside and work. He graduated from the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes Prilidiano Pueyrredón in Buenos Aires where he was trained along with artists Fabiana Barreda and Rodrigo Alonso, amongst others. In addition to being a visual artist, Terán is a musician and composer that fuses traditional Argentine folk rhythms with electronic and alternative music.
In 2011, Terán completed several major projects, including an extensive solo exhibition at the Museo J.R. Vidal de Corrientes, Argentina; an exhibition at the Multiespacio San Telmo, Buenos Aires; and a large-scale mural work at the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires (MAMBA), Argentina. In 2014, the artist's work was featured in the exhibition, Litoralismo, at the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), Argentina.
Terán has had solo and group exhibitions in both galleries and museums throughout Argentina, including the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Rosario (MACRO); the Museo Castagnino, Rosario; the Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires; and the Centro Cultural Borges, Buenos Aires.
Terán's artwork also forms part of various important Latin American private collections, and has been exhibited in several international art fairs, including ArteBA, Buenos Aires; ArtBo, Bogotá; and Pinta, New York.
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