‘Made Here’ group exhibition opens at Guttenberg Arts on Aug. 7

GUTTENBERG – Made Here 2015, a group exhibition at the Guttenberg Arts Gallery, will take place from Aug. 7 to Sept. 4. Artists participating in the exhibition are Pavel Acosta, Heidi Lau, Elisabeth Smolarz, and Juana Valdes. The works included in Made Here were created during the artists’ residences this past summer.
Pavel Acosta’s move from Cuba to the United States fundamentally changed his artwork. The skills he learned in Cuba (stealing paint off buildings to make works) remain a base metaphor to address life’s struggles in his work. His new works show Acosta’s source of materials is not the city anymore, but museums. Museum walls are carriers of memories, and ultimately of history, and are reflected in the two new pieces he has created during his residency.
Heidi Lau has worked exhaustively with a variety of traditional mediums including printmaking, ceramics, and bookmaking. Her geometric forms, inspired by magic charts and mandalas, are juxtaposed with tusche renderings and acid washes resembling nebulas or alchemy. These created artifacts take the form of various objects of remembrance: towers, funeral monuments, and fossilized creatures, composing the history of a mystical world by suggesting its existence and decline.
Elisabeth Smolarz collaborates with individuals to create shrine-like installations of their own objects in their home environments, embodying their sense of selfhood and identity, thus creating a series of intricate self-portraits that tell the story of each individual. As the first community-based artist in residence at Guttenberg Arts this summer, Smolarz focused on the population of Guttenberg. Her series of individual portraits together makes up a larger community portrait and one that shows what it means to be one of the most densely populated municipalities in America.
Juana Valdes’ work records her own personal experience of migration, directly informed by her Afro-Cuban ethnicity growing up in America. Valdes’ compositions represent a personal examination of the post-colonial history of the Americas and the current representation of Latinos, Caribbean citizens, Blacks or “others” in mainstream America, through works of found ceramics and prints.
The title “Made Here” carries not only multiple definitions, but multiple conceptual meanings including location, identity, the politics of materials, and the historical nature of place. All of these new works address many of these issues and are intended as just the beginning points for deeper reflection.

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