23 Essex Street
Beverly, MA 01915
Pose is the first New England solo-exhibition of the internationally acclaimed artist, Anthony Goicolea.
On display is four connected and contrasting examples of Goicolea’s ideations. The gallery is bisected and the work is presented as two halves of the same mind. One must experience a section with the afterimage of the other heavy on their conscious. The gallery forces contemplation, reflection, and (false) memory; reminiscent of a dream. His work is not intentionally or overtly political. It is a visceral reaction to changing dialogues around ethnicity, sexuality and religion. Growing up as a Cuban, Catholic, gay boy in the Deep South in the early 70’s, heightened his awareness of social constructs and the changing nature of identity politics—a theme that continually informs his work.
“Anonymous Self-Portraits” eschews traditional portraiture and renders identity through coded body language, gesture and performance. Figures simultaneously reveal and conceal themselves as they push against the architectural boundaries of their vestments.
In a series of “Shadow Projection Portraits” Goicolea similarly investigates portraiture, identity, beauty and the grotesque in a suite of drawings/paintings on mylar film presented as videographic images with black bars framing the top and bottom. The letterbox format references the transference of wide format film to standard width video. The fact that these portraits are rendered as photo-like film-stills in graphite and acrylic further conflates the mediums of film, photography, and painting.
Each portrait is an amalgamation of different facial features cobbled together from semi androgynous men and woman and have strong ties to the artist’s early composited self-portrait work. Borrowing the most visually compelling and striking characteristics from different portrait subjects, Goicolea repeats traditionally beautiful features in duplicate or triplicate until they morph or dissolve into hauntingly abstracted and deformed renderings of engineered faces. Traditional portraiture encourages the viewer to hone in on specific characteristics to identify a specific individual. These portraits rebuke that instinct. It is almost impossible for the eye to rest on any one specific recognizable feature for too long before it dissolves into the next layer of dislocated eyes, nose or mouth.