Opening Reception, Saturday, September 14th, 7 – 10 PM
Spinello Projects is located at 2930 NW 7th Avenue, Miami, FL 33127
Aramis Gutierrez knowingly uses the dance studio as the key visual and conceptual site of his new body of work. His three canvas work End Game Aesthetics (L) (2013), which lends it’s name to this exhibition, is a major work. Each canvas is 10.5′ wide and 6′ tall, meaning that just on the level of scale they feel like a backdrop—a scenic painting for a ballet. Although unlike the fantastic forests hanging behind romantic ballets of the nineteenth century, these paintings show us aspects of an empty room. It is “aggressively bare,” as Peter Brook would have it, save the minimal elements that situate you unmistakably: the large mirrored wall, the barre, maybe a single empty chair, the vast clean floor. Standing in front of one you cannot help but become aware of your own body, to straighten and position yourself as if you might, remarkably, see your reflection in the painted mirror. There is a sense that something is about to happen—the dancers might run in to begin class; or that something has just ended—they’ve all run out.
The dancers in these paintings are an act of misdirection, a thematic vehicle for the true subject of the works: the act of painting today. In End Game Aesthetics he playfully makes his subject an “arena for action”—the dance studio—but instead of using the canvas as the recording device for an “authentic” virtuosic performance, as Harold Rosenberg would have it, we have a performance of painting as a rehearsal. Gutierrez carefully sketches and plans these paintings, makes studies, and marks out the images on the canvas so that then he can rapidly apply the paint. With such open and visible strokes you have a clear sense of the painter working on the canvas in his studio—it shows you how its made. And, like the dancer on stage, any sense of effortlessness in these paintings is the product of long and careful preparation.
With this group Aramis Gutierrez offers us paintings at once luminous and cold, present and absent, moving and still. The joke of the title End Game Aesthetics, is at the expense of desperation some painters feel in contemporary art—the perennial cry that “painting is dead,” which, of course will never be true, proved anew each generation when painters like Gutierrez enter the scene.