Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Press Release: Jose (Chepe) Cuadra at Julian Scott Memorial Gallery, Johnson State College

Retratos de Espaldas: MFA Thesis Exhibition

Vermont artist, Chepe Cuadra was born in California and grew up in Granada, Nicaragua. Cuadra’s M.F.A. Thesis presents 18 large scale oil paintings on un-stretched canvas. They are up for one month (January 16 - February 11, 2012) in the Julian Scott Memorial Gallery of Johnson State College. Reception (with tastes and flavors from Nicaragua) is on Thursday, February 2, at 3pm.

Retratos de Espaladas means “Portraits from the Back”. These paintings invite viewers to observe without being looked at. If a picture can tell a thousand words, these paintings lead to a thousand questions:

What are the people carrying on their heads? How do they do it? How many children do they carry with them? What are they selling? Who is the buyer? What happens to the body of a man carrying 200lbs of plantains supported on his spine? Who is the man who learned to balance a child while riding a bicycle? Do clothes distinguish culture and class?

As a thesis, this exhibit fulfills requirement -- of being a capstone, of being ambitious, and of pushing the student yet, this body of paintings makes a statement in and of itself. They are portraits. They are from thousands and thousands of photographs. They are you, and me, and all working people as well as all travelers in the world, walking by.

These paintings expose realities specific to the market place. Cuadra’s exquisite painting techniques as well as his style of painting pull people in. It is a style which is detailed and general, gestural and specific – ultimately these paintings show the hard work of a people living and working in Latin America and tell of a talented artist living and working in St. Albans.

The first paragraph of Cuadra’s statement reads:

“My interest in Back Portraits is driven by my interest in people - people that I know or people I work with or simply people in general. I am attracted by the features that are described by their backs, because every feature tells me something of their personalities or sometimes even an event in their lives,”

Through this body of work we realize we are each moving toward our own destination - which is fundamentally unique. Cuadra’s collection of paintings, “Portraits from the Back” – allow us to observe without being observed and see we are all on this journey together.

Retratos de Espaldas” will be on exhibit through Saturday, February 11, 2012. Julian Scott Memorial Gallery ,Dibden Center for the Arts. Johnson State College. Hours: M-F 10am-6pm; Sat 10am-4pm. Leila Bandar, Gallery Director. email: Phone: 802-635-1469.