In “We’ll Weather the Storm Well,” Vasquez directs a cast of characters through a cross section of properties within an imagined neighborhood landscape. A looming storm fills the sky with the tension of what it may or may not bring. Boarded up properties, gas jugs, and beer kegs allude to the possibility of a hurricane level storm, and exhibit both a preparedness and a disregard.
Non linear in narration, an ambiguity flows through the timeline of events, identities, and beliefs of the subjects and imagery. In “Calm Before the Storm (Doublethink)” a lull sets in and the deserted nature of the pre-hurricane landscape is prime for mischief. Influenced and governed by their own set of values and streetwise social codes, a group is put to the task of stealing a gargoyle to ward off the storm. However, the act of successfully stealing the gargoyle disproves the belief in the objects ability to protect. Have they been duped, or do they understand the true architectural function of a grotesque?
In “Beyond the Pale (Party Wall),” the subjects’ thoughts are primed by their environment. This also holds true for the viewer, as their thoughts about the work are informed by their own experiences. Vasquez plays into this throughout the exhibition through the metaphorical use of a ‘storm,’ coupled with the viewers disposition of living in America amidst current times of uncertainty, underscoring long standing themes in Vasquez’s work including identity, community, territory, affiliation, and boundaries.
Pulling from his own printed 4 x 6” photography, Vasquez has reimagined and reassembled his imagery to create collages that depict this invented context and reality. For “We’ll Weather the Storm Well,” Vasquez has chosen to exhibit some of these collages, and also utilize others for reference images for the paintings, – ultimately becoming dramatic compositions that are energized through a language of mark making that transcends representational likeness and describes the attitude and energy of the subjects and setting.
Michael Vasquez was born in St. Petersburg, Florida. He is an only child and was raised by his single mother. He graduated from New World School of the Arts with a BFA in 2005 and currently lives and works in Miami. Vasquez’s work has been exhibited in numerous institutions, recently including the Americas Society, New York City; The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C.; and in Florida at the MDC Museum of Art + Design; Frost Art Museum; MOCA North Miami; and The Orlando Museum of Art.
Under The Bridge Art Space
12425 NE 13th Ave. #4
North Miami, FL 33161