Colombian artist John J. Bedoya’s first solo exhibition after 3 years
STAMFORD, CT–Just as we get sucked into the routine of our everyday lives, artists too, turn to habit. It takes something monumental to break an artist from their mold. Gallerist Fernando Luis Alvarez sees it as his duty to challenge his artists to reinvent themselves with every show. The Alvarez Gallery’s next exhibition, Colombian artist John J. Bedoya’s Over Leaves and Roots, is an expression of what happens when a gallerist helps push an artist to creative limits.
Opening from 6-9 pm on Saturday, April 7, 2018, Over Leaves and Roots is Bedoya’s 4th solo exhibition at the Gallery and his first in over 3 years. Former exhibitions included a one-man show at Art Palm Beach and a Sprouting Spaces studio (when the program was run by the gallery) on Summer Street in Stamford. As its most prolific and highest-selling artist, Bedoya had found comfort in his methods.
Alvarez first approached Bedoya on a visit to Colombia last summer to host a dinner in Bedoya’s new studio that was attended by dignitaries, curators, collectors and Dr. Francisco Lopera, the preeminent international expert on Alzheimer’s disease. At this dinner, Alvarez inspected the artist’s latest paintings–works in progress as Bedoya completed a series of institutional installations for a museum (a series of oversized sculptural pieces wrought of iron and brick walls). Alvarez and Bedoya came to a creative reckoning: it was obvious that while Bedoya prepared his installations he had settled into a rut when it came to his painting.
Through intensive study and discussion, Alvarez encouraged the artist to break his mold and explore something he had never considered before: color. Bedoya’s work uses a mix of organic materials with manufactured pieces that he has found in his native Colombia. From these, he recreates landscapes that are altered and touched by human industry. Recent pieces have been particularly concerned with GMOs and their effect on the agriculture, social, and economic traditions in Colombia. However, in dealing with organic material, Bedoya stuck with organic colors: browns and grays, and other neutrals. Color in his work was relegated to corners and backgrounds, used an enhancement rather than focus. For Over Leaves and Roots, color is at the forefront of Bedoya’s work. While he has retained his subject matter, shocks of electric blue, pink, and green add a layer of otherwordly glow to the pieces. They are at once dark and vibrant, natural, and fantastical. This juxtaposition is new in Bedoya’s work–something the artist has at once embraced and yet vows to never attempt again. Breaking one’s mold is a difficult process, one that takes massive amounts of energy and thought. It is at once frightening and thrilling to see what one can do when they are challenged.
These rare pieces will be on view through May 15th at the Alvarez Gallery in Stamford, CT.
About the Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery
The Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery opened in December 2009 in Stamford with the mission to build artists’ careers from the doors in and community from the doors out. Its influence extends internationally, having recently become the official sponsor of Joseph Kosuth’s exhibition at the Louvre in Paris. It also worked with the Tate Museum and Frieze Art Fair on their prestigious acquisition fund, the Frieze Tate Fund, as it was transitioned from Outset International to Frieze’s newest investor, Ari Emanuel of William Morris Endeavor. Recently, the Gallery launched a new non-profit, Clementina Arts Foundation, to build on its community mission.
The Gallery also acquires and represents prominent estate collections including most recently acquiring the estate of Valerie Furth, Holocaust survivor turned important collector, painter, and author. The collection includes Valerie’s work, her book depicting her experience in the Holocaust, and her important collection including artists such as Richard Diebenkorn, Sean Scully, Robert Longo, Frank Stella, Louise Fishman, James Rosenquist, Helen Frankenthaler, and many other important artists.
Other artists in the gallery’s stable include Jena Thomas, John J. Bedoya, Vincent Serbin, Rex Prescott Walden, Shelby Head, Joe Boginski, and others.