Zilia Sánchez “Heróicas Eróticas en Nueva York”

Galerie Lelong

poster for Zilia Sánchez “Heróicas Eróticas en Nueva York”

This event has ended.

Galerie Lelong presents its first solo exhibition with Cuban-born artist Zilia Sánchez, Heróicas Eróticas en Nueva York. As a global citizen who has lived in Cuba, Spain, New York, and now Puerto Rico, Sánchez’s hybridized shaped canvases unite the painterly and the sculptural, the formal and the psychological, and the masculine and the feminine. Only the second exhibition of Sánchez’s work in New York in over thirty years, Heróicas Eróticas en Nueva York comprises paintings made in the artist’s signature technique of stretching canvas over hand-molded wooden armatures, and spans fifty years of production. Many of the works on view have never been seen outside of Sánchez’s adopted home of Puerto Rico.

Sánchez’s sensually shaped canvases developed during the eight years she spent living in New York (1964-1972). Prior to this she worked in a number of styles, influenced by her travels and connections to European Post-War abstraction. Clear geometric forms, which are often repeated, swell out of Sánchez’s canvases. Her vocabulary is consistent, as seen in the span of works, some beginning in the 1960s and 1970s and continuing into the present. A centerpiece of the show will be a new, monumental diptych, Conversatorio (de la serie Eros y la Comunicación) [Conversation, of the Eros and Communication series], that demonstrates Sánchez’s continuing artistic development.

Sánchez’s use of serial processes and a muted, reduced color palette connects her to Minimalism. Her personal language of sensuality and her embrace of the curve, however, creates a distinct approach to formal abstraction, unique among artists, which asks us to reexamine the tenets of Minimalism. Art historian Irene V. Small says: “The desire of the artist who, molding a work’s skeleton and then manipulating its tensile skin, treats it as a corpus, an organic entity with formal and emotive energies of its own. And the desire of the viewer, whose motility in relation to the canvas causes its abstracted shapes to expand, contract, slide, dilate, and bloom. To become a ‘viewer’ of Sánchez’s work, in short, is to become a subject that emerges with and alongside the work of art.”

Ranging in scale from the intimate to monumental, each painting compels the viewer to look at it from different angles as the waves and folds reveal themselves through a longer engagement. The paintings are often worked and reworked over the course of decades, orientations of panels are changed, and some are “tattooed” with the use of a fine black line, which indicates her biography. Time is approached in a non-linear way in Sánchez’s work, aligning with her position as a singular artist who has worked in relative obscurity, but engaging central contemporary issues.

In conjunction with the exhibition a catalogue will be published with an essay by Irene V. Small, Assistant Professor of Art & Archaeology at Princeton University, with a Modern and Contemporary art and transnational focus. Archival images of Sánchez, works both included and not included in the exhibition, and a chronology of Sánchez written by Marimar Benítez, an esteemed art historian from Puerto Rico, will also add to the publication.



from May 03, 2014 to June 21, 2014

Opening Reception on 2014-05-02 from 18:00 to 20:00


Zilia Sánchez

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