On view through Nov. 6th.
Gitanas, Madonas Negras y Otras Salvajes is an exhibition of paintings by Karem Arrieta. Arrieta is a master figurative painter and her pieces tell stories both beautiful and mysterious. Full of allegorical meaning and cultural references, the haunting quality of her portraits is sure to dazzle. Arrieta purposely rejects the trends of figurative painting and has been developing her own unique style out of classical painting traditions for the past thirty years. What she has achieved is a unique way of representing the world that retains the richness of bygone eras while also exposing contemporary issues.
Her paintings unite various confusing universes that ultimately reveal the condition of the artist and the workings of her mind. The various cultures of Venezuela, among them the Indigenous, African, Dutch, Spanish, and French, are “assumed as inner worlds, not exterior signs of appearance and appurtenance.” Arrieta goes on to explain “my ignorance is vast and I’m currently looking at why we’re here.” The result is full of contradictions and dilemmas that make the work both mesmerizing, perplexing, and often disturbing.
Arrieta says her work represents a “past long gone. A city, a country lost forever,” as well as “an homage to my city Maracaibo, thick and scorching, inhabiting me despite my 22 years spent in France.”