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Manifestaciones A Portfolio of 12 Prints by Dominican York Proyecto GRAFICA

Essay by Graciela Kartofel, Art Historian, Art Critic/Curator  Copyright 2010

          Manifestaciones marks a pivotal moment. It is one of the few group exhibitions by Dominican York artists, and marks the convergence of several trends that were simmering and maturing among artists who had, until now, made a name for themselves only as individuals. An enriching collaboration among the Dominican York Proyecto GRAFICA artists has produced 12 considerable artworks, each one offering a specific approach to the selected theme: New York City as seen and lived by the artists.

          Carlos Almonte created Vale John, a serigraph integrating dreams, memories and reality, with a linear gray drawing as background and a colorful character in the forefront. Artist and printmaker Pepe Coronado, incorporated text with images to recall a historic moment involving the USS Intrepid, symbolic colors, and a combination of line and photo documentation. His artwork includes history, geography, and text in post-conceptual graphics. René de los Santos, in an expressionist linocut and serigraph, situated the mythical Cigüita Cibaeña bird in New York to look over its bridges and skyscrapers. iliana emilia garcía created the Dreambox, as shoeshine boxes are called in the Dominican Republic. Her serigraph, on reflective Mylar and chine collé, is a reference to the habits of their native land, and to the dreams of migrating Latinos. Reynaldo García Pantaleón created Amarrao, a black and white eloquent expressionistic scene of physical and social oppressions. Scherezade García’s Day Dreaming employs a symbolic-geographic approach through combined mediums. The sacrificed human figure lies down, supporting civilization. Alex Guerrero reaches an evocative and lively climate in his artwork. He intertwines a black-and-white photo-based print with a colorful-naive construction and a rainy cloud. Its details are precious. This work is a good example of the updated use of media.

          Luanda Lozano, an accomplished printer at the Manhattan Graphics Center/Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, did her piece via a religious-romantic green figure, Sálvame Santo. Miguel Luciano deals with the theme of passports and the social divisions that society establishes and brings to these documents. Yunior Chiqui Mendoza makes a clear statement through graphics—the New York subway map in the shape of a banana. He names it Bananhattan, a logical and very original approach referencing the term “banana republics,” derisively used at times when referring to Caribbean countries. Moses Ros-Suárez piece Reggaeton del Bachatero, is a triptych etching and chine collé. The three sections, headlined by words in Spanish, have different core colors: brown, yellow, and greenish inks. Moses has a key tool, space, which he allocates to his narrative through various approaches. Rider Ureña—in whose studio the group held meetings and produced some of the prints—brings to the project the Dominican mythological figure Cigüapa. Integrating drawing and a painterly approach, the piece is mysterious and sensual.

          The twelve coincide in their figurative mood, but neither the imagery nor the artistic tendencies and styles are the same. This makes it clear that they are not a group with tight rules, but a “collective.” Through it, they came together to exalt the Dominican presence in New York in their personal, professional, struggling voices. They have chosen the print medium to bring accessible artwork to the city, and to be part of one of Latin America’s strongest traditions: the graphic arts.

          Prints nourished the cooperative developments and outreach of numerous movements through the years. Printed artwork and printed words have a parallel capacity: to reach out to the world with specific informative, social, educational, and community-building intent.

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