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Fuegos de Noche
September 7 - November 11
Works on Paper
A Survey: 1952 - 2012
Rafael Ferrer: A Survey, Works on Paper 1952–2012,” September 7—November 11, brings together approximately 150 drawings, prints, and paintings on paper by the New York-based, Puerto Rican-born artist, among them early Surrealist-influenced notebook sketches and abstract paintings on paper from the 1950s; graphic map drawings, including many of his native island of Puerto Rico; watercolors of landscapes in the Dominican Republic; his original illustrations for the Limited Editions Club of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude (1982); faces drawn on paper bags; oil-on-paper drawings of interior scenes or female torsos that make reference to other artists’ works, and collages that reflect his views of current art-world and political events.
Catalogs are avaiable for purchase at the Museum for $20. If you would like to have a catalog shipped to you, please call the Museum at 717-394-3497. Please note that there is an $8 S&H fee. MEMBERS RECEIVE A COMPLIMENTARY COPY OF THE CATALOG, which can be picked up at LMA.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH A VIDEO OF FERRER DISCUSSING HIS PAPER BAG PORTAITS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rq7KgXyFrwM&feature=youtu.be
This exhibition, focusing on works on paper from 1952 on, highlights Rafael Ferrer’s broad accomplishment, his spontaneity, and his generosity. Born in Puerto Rico in 1933, he was educated on the mainland at Staunton Military Academy in Virginia and later at Syracuse University. His older brother José Ferrer, the Oscar winning actor, encouraged his brother’s interest both in music and art. Eugenio Fernandez Granell, a professor at the University of Puerto Rico, was another essential early influence through whom, during a visit to Europe in 1954, Ferrer met Wifredo Lam and other artists then living in Paris. Ferrer’s European sketchbooks from that trip reveal a growing fascination with Surrealist fantasies: Delicate linear arabesques, balanced Calder-like compositions and lessons from Miró—all charged with an erotic spice.
Ferrer’s art in the late 1960s and early 1970s was in the forefront of idealist, anti-commercial, anti-product art. Like other conceptual artists and advanced art theorists, such as Allan Kaprow, he employed ephemeral or quotidian materials—leaves, blocks of ice, building materials, and cyclone fencing—to create temporary installations such as those at Leo Castelli’s Gallery (1968) and the Whitney Museum of American Art (1970).
In 1972 Ferrer visited Chicago on the occasion of his solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art and met many of the artists associated with the Art Institute of Chicago, including Don Baum, and the loose exhibiting confederations with outlandish names: Hairy Who, Non-Plussed Some, False Image. With the “Chicago Imagists,” whose art is rooted in Surrealism, Duchampian puns, the figurative tradition, Outsider Art, eroticism, and comics, Ferrer found kindred artistic spirits
Throughout the remainder of the 1970s, Ferrer created a whole series of works employing nautical maps as the support. The maps combine the rational with the emotional, the linear with the coloristic, Florentine restraint and Venetian sensuality. The maps became a complex, evocative symbol.
While Ferrer appreciates Outsider art, references to the modern masters are constantly present in his art. He maintains an ongoing dialogue with Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel (originally 1913), Giocametti’s “Etruscan” figures, Morandi’s bottles, Mondrian’s compositions, Otto Dix’s Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) portraiture or John Heartfield’s collages from the 1920s, Picasso’s masks from the first decade of the twentieth century to mention a few. Hiroshige and Lam likewise appear and reappear in visual conversations.
Although highly referential, his art is never academic, but rather expresses his belief that art is central to life. Robert Henri, the American Ash Can School painter, once noted: “I am interested in art as a means of living a life; not as a means of making a living.” Henri’s belief in “art for life’s sake,” which challenged the Aesthetic Movement’s “Art for Art’s sake” dogma, seems particularly applicable to Ferrer’s artistic journey. His work therefore is accessible, with a large spirit brimming to overflowing. It’s funny, polemical, sexy, topical, tropical, engaged, exuberant, generous. Fundamentally it’s about the spirit of the man.
Check out the following links for videos with more information on Rafael Ferrer:
1. Gallery Talk at Guild Hall: Rafael Ferrer and Barry Schwabsky (2011)
2. Gallery Talk at Guild Hall: Edward J. Sullivan (2011)
3.Profiles in Excellence: Rafael Ferrer (1982)
4. Nino Segarra (1954- ) Digan lo que digan. Con algunas obras de Rafael Ferrer