Join curator Elizabeth Ferrer and exhibition artists Candida Alvarez, Karlos Cárcamo, and Vargas-Suarez Universal for a discussion about the exhibition Latinx Abstract. A cross-generational presentation featuring ten artists working in diverse media, this exhibition underscores the significant although little-explored role that abstraction has played among Latinx artists. In doing so, the exhibition aims to challenge the established history of abstract art in the United States, which largely excludes the contributions of Latinx artists. The evening will include a virtual walkthrough of the exhibition and presentations by artists Candida Alvarez, Karlos Cárcamo, and Vargas-Suarez Universal.
About the artists
Candida Alvarez (she/her). Born in Brooklyn, NY; based in Chicago, IL. In vibrant paintings that interweave personal narrative with the pictorial, Candida Alvarez conjures kaleidoscopic reflections of her surroundings, memories, and Puerto Rican heritage. Working with a vibrant color palette, Alvarez’s process of remixing and arranging becomes a means of re-envisioning an idiosyncratic abstract language that functions as visual and cultural palimpsest. The life seen out of her studio window, the vegetation of Puerto Rico, or fleeting rays of light, are rearranged in fractalized form in her compositions. Candida Alvarez has had solo exhibitions at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, NY; and Monique Meloche Gallery, the Hyde Park Art Center, and the Chicago Cultural Center, all Chicago, IL. Her group shows include those at El Museo del Barrio, NY; DePaul Art Museum, Chicago, IL; Contemporary Arts Museum-Houston, TX. She is the recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant and of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant. Her work is included in the permanent collections of El Museo del Barrio, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others. Alvarez teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She earned her BA from Fordham University, NY; and her MFA from Yale School of Art. The artist is represented by Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago.
Karlos Cárcamo (he/him). Born in San Salvador, El Salvador; based in Beacon, NY. In Karlos Cárcamo’s conceptual approach to painting, he engages in a process that he relates to musical “sampling” – the practice of reusing various portions of preexisting tracks in a new song and that which virtually defines rap and hip-hop music. This process has allowed Cárcamo to place institutionally recognized stylistic movements like geometric abstraction, cubism, and color field expressionism, against often depreciated and marginalized arts like graffiti writing and lowrider aesthetics, in order to create a uniquely new amalgam. Karlos Cárcamo has had solo exhibitions at Hionas Gallery, the MLB Fan Cave Gallery, and Dean Project, all NY. He has appeared in group shows at Artists Space, MoMA PS1, and El Museo del Barrio, all NY; Brodsky Center at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ; and Museo de Arte de El Salvador, El Salvador. He has had residencies at the Lower East Side Printshop and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, both NY. His work is part of the permanent collections of El Museo del Barrio; Deutsche Bank; Red Bull; and the Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain. Cárcamo earned a BFA from The School of Visual Arts, NY; and an MFA from Hunter College, City University of New York.
Vargas-Suarez Universal (he/him). Born in Mexico City, Mexico; based in New York, Texas, and Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. Known for large-scale paintings, murals, and more recently, textile-based work, Vargas-Suarez Universal arranges grand linescapes evocative of futuristic subjects enmeshed in the historical weight of ancient and indigenous visual forms. He evokes elements of traditional weaving, mapping, computing, and microchip architecture in his compositions, blurring the lines between culture, nature, and science. Intrigued by traditional forms of logic and their parallel to digital languages, the artist has recently experimented with textile design and conducted post-studio research at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Mountain View, California; the Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico; the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida; and the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. Vargas-Suarez Universal has had solo exhibitions at the International Fine Arts Consortium, NY, and Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana, San Jose, CA; a forthcoming exhibition will take place at the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling, NY. His work has been featured in group shows at BRIC, Brooklyn; and El Museo del Barrio, NY, among many others. Vargas-Suarez has taken part in residencies with the National Academy, NY; Dieu Donné Papermill, Brooklyn; Tibetan Handicraft & Paper Pvt. Ltd., Kathmandu, Nepal; and with the AIM Program, Bronx Museum of the Arts, among others. His work is included in the permanent collections of such institutions as the Brooklyn Museum, Queens Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, all NY. Vargas-Suarez Universal holds a BS and BA from the University of Texas at Austin. He is represented by Hutchinson Modern & Contemporary, NY.