Let’s (st)art

Painting by Samir Garcia.

Looking to get ahead start with a collection of Colombian art this year? The City Paper spoke with four respected curators as to whom we should be watching.

Eduardo Serrano / Art critic. Historian.

Independent curator Serrano has organized some of the most important exhibitions in Colombia with the Museum of Modern Art in Bogotá (MamBo), and as director of cultural affairs for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has published 20 books on the subject.

Serrano’s choices are all under 30 years old, sure to mean that they will be creating for a long time, and this is a very good thing for art lovers. First on Serrano’s list is Oscar Villalobos. His paintings “make reference to the problems found in contemporary cities expressed through an original language – urban displacement and deep social injustices,” he said.

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According to Serrano, Diego Diaz’s drawings of Bohemian and night scenes “reveal a special talent for realistic representation.” This talent, he stated, is reminiscent of someone with the skills of the “old masters, but whose aesthetic and social values place him at the fore-front of contemporary art.”

Edwin Monsalve’s “contemporary vision of art” has attracted much attention—all deserving. He has been producing “some of the most intriguing and appealing works in recent years in Colombia,” according to Serrano. He attributed this to the “combination of extremely realistic images he produces with unconventional materials,” and this has put Monsalve in front of the Colombian art scene.

Serrano on Saír García: “I think his work – paintings, installations and sculptures – exemplifies humanistic arguments,” he said. “His creativity dives deeper and to such an extensive scope, both on national and international levels.”

Estefania Sokoloff / Architect. Visual arts coach.

Sokoloff admires New York based Angelica Teuta “for the consistency of her proposal”; Félix Antequera, a Cuban photographer who has called Colom- bia home since 1998, for being “a great photographer who balances concept and craft”; “the impeccable work” of Alejandro Sánchez, a plastic and visual artist; Santiago Villaveces “for his intelligent and insightful work”; Pedro Gómez-Egaña, based in Norway, “for the humor present throughout his work, which is smart, sharp and successful”; and Julian Burgos “for his strong pictorial language.”

The work of Estefanía Siluan has also caught Solokoff’s discerning eye. She identified her as a rising talent for her deeply feminine work in collage, which addresses problems as complex as sexual violence against children. Juan Fernando Herrán is also an artist of the moment. “I admire him as a human being. Before [I can appreciate] the object itself, I must admire the human being who creates it.”

Christian Padilla  / Art historian. Critic.

For Padilla, the most outstanding artists of the moment are Miler Lagos, Ivan Argote, Leidy Chávez and Fernando Pareja, Car- los Castro and Adriana Salazar. “Their work breaks completely with the classic tradition and conveys very important reflections on contemporary Latin American society and its problems,” he said. “They are not empty works, on the contrary: They all carry a very rich conceptual load.”

Padilla continues, “They are young artists, some with a higher level of dedication than others, but they still have to earn a lot more success and recognition for their works.” Interested in the link between machines, technology and art, Padilla also admires the work, of Argentinean Leandro Erlich, who recently exhibited at artBO fair in Bogotá. The “Praxinoscopios” of Leidy Chávez and Fernando Pareja also make this inquisi- tive list.

Ana María LozanoCurator. Professor at Javeriana University.

Leonel Vásquez, according to Lo- zano, is one of the most promising, interesting and original artists on the scene. “His works concerning sound and the creation of three-dimensional objects,” she said, “make him an out- standing artist.”

Second on her list is Orlando Rojas. “His inquiries in lathe new formulations of paint and installed painting make him a very interesting and original representative in the panorama of new pictorial practices,” she said.

Quite noteworthy, said Lozano, is Andrea Rey for “her work with unconventional materials and its reflection with unpredictable and ambiguous organic formulations.” This presents Rey “as an interesting exponent of the inquiry about low materialism,” she said.

Like Padilla, Lozano appreciates the “unique, surprising, disturbing, beautiful, complex and interesting work” of Leidy Chávez and Fernando Pareja as it is “posed with their absolutely singular and tough animations.”

Adrián Gaitán, María Buenaventura and Eulalia de Valdenebro round out Lozano’s list of most promising and talented artists working right now. Regarding Gaitán, the “use of poor mate- rials and implementation of contrasting and paradoxical environmental spaces make his works a stand out.” In 2013 he was featured artist at the 43 Salón (Inter)National de Arte in Me- dellin and the second Biennial (Inter) National de Arte, Desde Aquí, in Bucaramanga.

Buenaventura “deals with issues concerning questions about the territory and vital ‘laws of seeds,’” Lozano said. “Her work, not condescending or complacent, builds networks of connections between different groups struck by new legislation on the agricultural sector in our country.”

The work of de Valdenebro “mixes her knowledge as a botanical illustrator and her interest in the plant world” to create very strong and interesting work. The artist, she continued, is able to successfully bring together installations, drawings and photography.


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