Last month, the second Saturday Wynwood Art Walk fell on Valentine’s Day. The art, however, did not reflect this sentiment. Not that I expected to see Valentine imagery everywhere, but Britto’s iconic hearts would’ve been, at the very least, timely, and yet, unlike last month, the Brazilian’s pop art wasn’t hanging on any gallery walls, or at least none of the galleries that I visited.
Although no iconic Britto hearts were there, the hearts of the second Saturday crowd were actively engaged in the work of Venezuelan-born artist, Loriel Beltran. Part of the buzz for Beltran had to do with the fact that not one, but two galleries recently gave him solo shows. Last fall there was Process/Processed at Fredric Snitzer, and this winter his Labor Paintings are featured at Locust Projects.
In an interview with Rene Morales (pdf), Beltran says that he started his work back in college, when he was
trying to find a way to create paintings that had a history, in a way – a painting that was created by accumulation. In the process of trying to find a way I accidentally stumbled upon the layering of the paint and then cutting it. At first I was working a lot with transparencies, layering transparent paint on canvas, but it never really worked. I used to have a piece of plexiglass I used as a palette and I never cleaned it, and as I kept painting the piece of plexi started looking very organic, and I started to wonder how many different colors were in there. So I cut it in half and realized that worked perfectly for what I wanted to do.
Beltran’s dribbling and layering is often compared to other processes of accretion that occur naturally over time, like tree rings, mineral deposits, or geological strata.
Following the same motiff, for Beltran’s first solo show at Locust Projects he carefully stripped the paint and sheet rock off the same gallery walls that he used to paint not too long ago for a living, back before he started hosting his own shows, hence Labor Paintings. He then layered years of this paint to create his rendition of history. Notice how his works hang on stripped drywall.
But enough words about Beltran. Better to let his work speak for itself. Feast your eyes on TOE’s eclectic collection of Wynwood Art Walk February 2009…
Dark Night of the Soul by Ana Maria Pacheco
Tiempo al Tiempo IV by Carlos Gallardo
River Del Pueblo Viejo by Pablo Soria
Wild Spirit by Ariel Cusnir
Dolce Stil Nuovo by Ariel Cusnir
Freeze by Eleomar Puente
In the garden of delights II by Gerard Ellis
The Perfect Human by Joergen Leth
Green Screen by Sreshta Premnath
Chester Copperpot by Daniel Milewski
Clapton is God by Daniel Milewski
Untitled by Loriel Beltran
Untitled by Loriel Beltran
Untitled (detail) by Loriel Beltran
The Mission by Karla Turcios
Left in the Rubble (Cabrini Green)by Karla Turcios
Untitled #8 by Loriel Beltran
Untitled #8 (detail) by Loriel Beltran
Unknown Title by Unknown Artist
Eating Chicken by Federico Uribe
Gladiator by Federico Uribe
Gladiator (detail) by Federico Uribo