The Weight of Words
José Angel Vincench
Thomas Jaeckel and Rachel Weingeist are pleased to announce recent works by Cuban artist, Jose Vincench in The Weight of Words, an exhibition of painting and sculpture. Works by the artist will be exhibited concurrently in Jaeckel Gallery and at the Pulse New York art fair (Booth A209, March 3-6) and the University of Tampa’s Scarfone Hartley Gallery, FL (March 4-18).
A key figure in Cuban contemporary art, Vincench is identified in his latest works with visually aseptic, abstract imagery that is largely heir to the legacies of concrete abstraction, conceptualism, and language-based art. His work often reflects an underlying process of deconstruction meant to express his experience within the social-political actuality of Cuba today, especially the use of rhetoric as a means of symbolic domination and referencing the sometimes tragic aftermath of resistance and dissent. Thus Vincench positions himself within a still central dichotomy of art-making in post-revolutionary Cuba: between the inner search for beauty, self-awareness, and art for art’s sake, and the more outward-facing urge to reflect on, criticize, or attempt to transform social reality by activism. (David Horta)
In works on canvas from his ongoing series, Vincench uses the geometry of highly charged Spanish-English cognates, such as Autonomia (Autonomy), Gusano (Worm aka Traitor), Exilo (Exile). Stacking the letters on top of each other using a personalized iconic geometry, Vincench builds his own vocabulary and meaning. Today it is the Gusanos (Traitors) who are able to provide capital to reinvest in their motherland, ironically.
Gold leaf works on canvas and Action Paintings (Pintura de action), splattered gold illuminations depict rarely documented and often not reported incidents of paint thrown at the houses of Cuban dissidents. An appropriation of these little known, low resolution Cuban image files, pixelated and distorted, are sweetened by the artist’s decorative gold interpretations.
Vincench: “Gold leaf provides me a seductive, poetic and lyrical old world craft material. I am intentionally creating a decorative product, ironic historical reality of yesterday and today, where we can forgive and reconcile. My abstraction starts with photos, testimony of the violence of the government on the dissidents, but more than a political statement I prefer to talk about the silence in the civil society and art. The artworks absorb the cynicism of this society, they are ironically based on the human drama found in images and words.”
Vincench’s paintings and sculptures are simultaneously intellectually challenging and conceptual works with resplendent minimal appeal.
A respected Professor at the infamous graduate program of the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, Cuba, Vincench’s work is a part of numerous private and public international collections including: Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, La Havana, Cuba; Pizzuti Collection; CIFO Collection, Miami, FL; Frost Museum, Florida International University, Miami; Perez Collection, Miami; Shelley and Donald Rubin, New York, NY; Chris von Christierson, London, UK; Estrella Brodsky, New York, NY.