UAlbany Art Exhibit presents Ronny Quevedo, Rodrigo Valenzuela, Audrey Flack, and Grace Lee Lawrence
From January 25 to April 2, 2022, the University Art Museum presents artwork from Ronny Quevedo, Rodrigo Valenzuela, Audrey Flack, and Grace Lee Lawrence.
Entering the museum I was immediately met with the artwork from multi-media artist Ronny Quevedo. Offside is Quevedo’s newly commissioned work Fuera de Lugar (2021) which translates from Spanish to “out of place”. As I observed his work it wasn’t long before I noticed how much of an influence his parents have on him as an artist. This is especially true when it comes to the piece el back-Centre. This piece is created from cut dress patterns attached to a muslin support. The work refers to both Quevedo’s mother’s and father’s careers, a seamstress and soccer player, and intertwines them with playful ambiguity.” The constellation Lyra makes a recurring appearance in this exhibit, one that Quevedo dedicates to his father. The use of constellations could also double as a metaphor that can help to understand his vision as he connects different ideas throughout the exhibition.
After thoroughly exploring the main floor I walked up the stairs, made a few turns, and entered a showroom that featured two videos from the multidisciplinary artist, Rodrigo Valenzuela. Valenzuela is a Chilean former day laborer in landscape, construction, and more. In the two videos on view, Prole (2015) and El Sísifo (2015), sports provide a backdrop for investigating issues of race, labor, solidarity, and workers’ agency. Both videos accurately paint a picture from a perspective I never thought to consider. One of the videos titled “Prole” featured several immigrant workers engaged in indoor soccer and a discussion of worker unionization. The video’s title “prole” translates to “offspring” in Spanish. It is also the Latin root of “working class” which can be used as both a derogatory term by the privileged against the working class and as a proud affirmation of class identity when used by workers. El Sísifo uses a split-screen and three voices to draw the correlation between the game plan for a soccer team and a cleaning crew. One of the cleaners told his story of migrating to the United States for work, declaring he is not ashamed of his labor and is willing to work hard at whatever he has to do to make ends meet. Both videos offer validation of the unseen labor behind the show of sports and capitalism. They invite critical reflection on how labor is viewed in American society and how status can affect people’s lives.
Lastly, in a connected room placed in the far left corner on the second floor housed the work of Photorealist painter Audrey Flack and 3D printed sculpture artist Gracelee Lawrence. Flack’s photographs explore color saturation and also function as sources for her groundbreaking vanitas still lifes from the 1970s and early 1980s. Printed in multi-colored, reflective filaments, Lawrence’s objects—which begin as 3D scans of bodies and fruit—exist in a transfigurative space between physical and digital reality. Paired together, Flack’s and Lawrence’s works provide the perfect environment to dwell on time, subjectivity, mechanical and digital reproduction, and capitalist consumption in today’s day in age. Through Flack’s photographs, there are reoccurring themes such as life and death, luxury, and consumption. In addition to incorporating personal objects and cosmetics, Flack gave this genre a 20th-century update by mirroring the spectacle of contemporary consumer culture through glittering light that sparkles among mirrored and glass objects. Lawrence’s work in Fruit Soup explores the continued salience of Flack’s themes in the 21st-century as seen in her production of digitally-skewed fruits and vegetables dealing with hybridity, reproduction, humor, and sexuality. The objects in Lawrence’s work are all printed with polylactic acid (PLA) filament, a vegetable-derived bioplastic most commonly made from fermented corn starch. In what the artist calls a “material poetics.” The juxtaposition of Flack and Lawrence invites us to contemplate these issues of photography, the digital, and reality; of foodways and consumption.
For more information on Ronny Quevedo: Offside –
For more information on Roderigo Valenzuela: Video Works –
For more information on Fruit Soup: Contemporary Vanitas by Audrey Flack and Gracelee Lawrence –