A Different Light September 16th, 2014
Artist Talk Evening at Jai & Jai Gallery with Ricardo Harris-Fuentes
Friday, October 17, 2014; 8pm-10pm
Jai & Jai Gallery is proud to present “A Different Light”, Ricardo Harris-Fuentes’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles. Harris-Fuentes’s painting practice combines what one might term “high” and “low” elements, specifically oil pigments and fluorescent acrylics paired with UV light, to create photosensitive paintings where images appear and disappear depending on whether the work is illuminated with daylight, gallery light, or UV light. These glowing, shimmering, shifting representations of Japanese rock gardens, houseplants, and pools attempt to represent the weltgeist. Harris-Fuentes is dedicated to making work that expresses a teleology of enlightenment: He wants the viewer to understand that everything she sees can be seen differently, and that these multiple realities are not in competition. Instead, these realities are simultaneous and unified. The shimmer of their overlay is what produces the rich potentiality of life: opportunities for healing, connection, and creation.
There is a rich heritage connecting painting to spiritual concerns. Wassily Kandisnsky, Kazimir Malevich, and Hilma af Klint, all pioneers of modernist abstraction felt that their work was guided directly by their connection to spiritual forces. Harris-Fuentes’s major diversion from this lineage is that he explores the spiritual through representations of objects and spaces that exist in our world, rather than relying on abstraction to suggest the ineffable. (However, the work is rife with formal choices, like the frequent use of vertical hatch marks, which introduce abstraction in order to depict light and energy.) In this way, he ties meditation and consciousness to the quotidian, exposing how our relationships with our houseplants can be as effective a mindfulness practice as daily meditation.
Harris-Fuentes often works in series; a way of painting that he connects to his Vipassana meditation practice. Painting the same scene or object repeatedly allows each image to function as a formal reincarnation of the work that came before. Like successive meditation sessions, each iteration provides new insights and serves as a reminder of the infinite creativity and perfection that is possible in each moment. These works are also spaces that the viewer can enter in the same manner that one enters first into oneself and then into the universal through meditation.
This effect is perhaps most evident in the two paintings of the Ryōan-ji zen rock garden on view in “A Different Light.” As the paintings’ appearance shifts with the light, the meditation garden becomes more abstract, in some instances resembling a pool more than an arrangement of gravel. The garden itself is designed as a space one enters with the mind, and this effect is multiplied as we are drawn into the world beyond the canvas by a light that radiates from within, as a result of the use of fluorescent paint. The fluorescent acrylic is used to create a rich underpainting that is sporadically blocked by the overlay of iridescent and interference pigments that do not glow under UV light. As the light on the surface of the paintings shifts from bright, to dark, to UV the paintings reveal hidden images and details to the viewer. These shimmers create a somatic experience–The viewer experiences these paintings with the body first and the critical mind second.
About the Artist:
Ricardo Harris-Fuentes was born in Los Angeles in 1976. In 2000 he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Amherst College and in 2010 received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has been exhibited in several group and solo shows in New York, Rome, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Harris-Fuentes currently lives and works in Los Angeles.
Photos taken by Evan Beford
***For more information and price list of exhibited works please contact Jai & Jai Gallery.