To My Father: Gabriel García Román March 30 – May 21, 2016
Curated by Evonne M. Davis
Opening Reception April 2, 7-10 PM
Artist Talk and Poetry Readings by:
Bakar Wilson, Sheila Maldonado, Alba Hernandez, and Bangela Davis
May 21, 6 PM
Newark, NJ – Gallery Aferro is pleased to present Gabriel García Román’s first solo show, To My Father. Roman has already garnered national press for his stunning chine-collé and photogravure portraits of LGBT/non-conforming activists, poets, and artists of color, depicting his subjects as contemporary Queer Icons. Finding inspiration in portraiture styles of Renaissance, Flemish and Christian Orthodox paintings, the series aims to elevate these multi-dimensional, powerful and proud contemporary figures and give visibility to a population generally underrepresented in the art world. From the queer Latina fighting for immigration rights to the non-binary disabled Trans Filipino, Roman portrays these “outsiders” as central to the narrative, just like saints—figures that are inherently worthy of attention, emulation, and storytelling. Much like traditional religious paintings conferred a sense of safety and meditative calm on a home; the works in this series aspire to provide a similar sense of refuge that’s drawn from the inner grace of the subjects and projected outwards onto a world that might not always be safe.
Gabriel García Román was born in Zacatecas, Mexico in 1973 and raised in Chicago. He received his B.A. in studio art at The City College of New York. Garcia is a photo-based artist and craftsman. As an artist, he’s constantly looking for ways to counteract the flatness that’s inherent to photography: weaving, folding, cutting, interlacing prints or collaging are all different attempts at realizing that goal. Photography allows him to explore aspects of his identity and decode the world he lives in. Queer. Mexican. American. Immigrant. Secular. Catholic.
To My Father also includes works from another series, Defining You, hand-woven intricate images where the warp is a studio portrait and the weft is a collage of images selected from the subject’s childhood photo albums—images that speak to formative experiences or simply conjure up memories they’d like to relive. The unique woven patterns echo DNA structures that depict how our experiences are intertwined with our identity. This weaving can also be considered the embodiment of the artist’s own experience as a bicultural immigrant through which old and new ideals are merged into one. In titling the exhibit, there is an acknowledgement that the artist’s diverse body of work is indebted to his father’s insatiable curiosity. As a child, he eagerly watched as his father took apart countless items and put them back together in order to see how they worked. This inability to remain still, combined with perpetual tinkering and fiddling with things, instilled in the artist a similar curiosity that finds its embodiment in an ever-expanding artistic vocabulary.
Educators and activity planners are encouraged to contact the gallery to book a free tour of the exhibits for their youth or adult groups.
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