Sunday, March 29, 2009

Eternal Recurrence

Eternal Recurrence: The Art of Lucero Gonzalez Jameson and Claudia Doring Baez
Chelsea Art Museum, NY, NY, April 9 - May 9, 2009

What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: 'This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more' ... Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: 'You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.’—Friedrich Nietzsche

Eternal Recurrence an exhibtion of Lucero Gonzalez Jameson and Claudia Doring Baez, two artists from different generations whose works poetically vacillate from the present to the past. Both artists are related to important Mexican historical figures: one is Manuel Gonzalez (1833-1893), a President of Mexico and a liberal; and the other Miguel Miramón (1831-1867), an interim President of Mexico, a general, and a conservative; the latter was one of two persons executed with Maximilian I, Emperor of Mexico and immortalized in Edouard Manet’s The Execution of Emperor Maximilian (1868-69).

Lucero's contribution to the exhibition consists of sculptures, a video, and paintings and she introduces her works in Eternal Recurrence via her rendition of Manet’s iconic painting. Her other canvases also trope history in that they are informed by canonical artists such as Picasso and Matisse, yet her paintings are of more personal subject matter and articulated in her distinctly abstract and expressive style. Claudia Doring Baez, on the other hand, approaches history almost as if it is fiction: her participation in Eternal Recurrence explores a postmodern spin on portraiture in which the models she depicts are based on real individuals, though the resulting works are titled vis-à-vis their professional occupation: the filmmaker, the librarian, the art dealer and so forth. Her strategy is to capture the quintessence of a maker of films, for example, so that the painting embodies a character or even an archetype rather than a specific person. She prefaces her paintings and sculptures in Eternal Recurrence with a series of portraits titled The President of Mexico, which is based on a full-length portrait of Manuel Gonzalez housed in Mexico City’s Chapultepec Castle and part of Mexico’s cultural patrimony.

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