In his new exhibition of works at Garboushian Gallery, Cuervo's paintings are fragmented stories, juxtaposed narratives and pieces of unresolved imagination. Even in fragmentation, Cuervo's world resembles the magic and mental chaos of solitude, further revealing the complexities of the human psyche. Unsettling, not organized in the conventions of the reality we pretend to live, these works are windows to Cuervo's internal bestiary, but in their unique surrealism, this unreal reality is capable of becoming a personal narrative, regardless of the viewer.
Gorgeous, unusual compositions pair with exquisitely rendered figures, body parts and intriguing objects to create a suggestive and subtle narrative, in each of his paintings. As if an artistic brainchild of Salvador Dali and Johannes Vermeer, Cuervo's meticulous paintings capture amazing accuracy in light and shadow, but play with perception and atmosphere. He tells his fantastic story with intense realism to confuse certainty and evoke emotion and imagination in his viewers.
Rich, lustrous layers of meticulous glazes embellish his color palette, with an empty and ominous gray dominating Cuervo's compositions. His color range is limited in these pieces despite giving the impression of a wide palette. The method of transparencies and glazes is what enriches the tonal universe of the images. With some figures staring back at us, not letting us escape, others remain ethereal and elusive, as if they had emerged from the abyss of our subconscious.
Tradition meets the contemporary in Cuervo's choice of imagery. Icons of antiquity are recurrent in this series, like the orange that symbolized life for the ancient Greeks. The beetles that represented eternal life and resurrection for the Egyptians were also symbols for Christ in medieval texts. The butterfly, Psyche for the Greeks, signified the human soul. By choosing to mix timeless and universal symbols with contemporary fashion and jewelry on truncated bodies, Cuervo's paintings extend bridges between eras, attempting to uncover the symbolism that is ascribed to his reality and immortalizing them in our collective memory through his personal visual testimony.
An opening reception for Leonardo Cuervo's In Fabula exhibition will take place at Garboushian Gallery on Saturday, March 22, 2014 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. The exhibition will remain on view until April 30, 2014.
ABOUT LEONARDO CUERVO:
Cuervo attended the renowned San Alejandro National Academy of Fine Arts in Havana, Cuba. He has exhibited throughout Cuba, Europe and the United States. In Havana, Cuervo presented solo shows in prestigious national institutions, including the National Council of Visual Arts and the Wallonia Cultural Center. His early work, influenced by the culture developed during the XIV through XVI centuries, led him to present solo exhibitions in Brussels, Belgium. Since 2012, Cuervo lives and works in Northern California.
Dacia Universal Art Project - Dacia Gallery, NY and The European House of Arts. Traveling exhibition displayed at Mazières-de-Touraine, France, Erfurt, Germany, and Sibiu, Romania, 2013.
Wallonia Cultural Center, In the shadow of the Broken Flowers, Havana, Cuba, 2011.
Experimental Center for Visual Arts, Gallery Belkys Ayon, Cuban Art in Miniatures, Havana, Cuba, 2009.
Gallery Palace of Lombillo, The Betrayal of Images, Havana, Cuba, 2009.
Gente Nueva Publishing House, Gallery Villena, Without words, 40 years of illustration, Havana, Cuba, 2007.
Contrast -Gallery & Galerie David Yannick, The two falls of Icarus, Brussels, Belgium, 2005.
National Council of Visual Arts, The Bewitched Amount, Havana , Cuba, 2005.
Blue Circle Gallery, Cuban Paintings, Themes and Colors, Chicago, 2002.