A Heap of Paradise
David Castillo Gallery is proud to present its second solo exhibition of Quisqueya Henriquez, A Heap of Paradise. The new works include collage, color prints, sculpture, video, and installations. In one series of collage works, Henriquez takes images from Dominican and Miami newspapers of baseball players who gave stand-out performances the day before. She in turn reconstructs these images of the players to emphasize or overemphasize their prowess. By extension, this separation of identity from the physical body in the collage works comments on the stereotypes of Caribbean people as good at dance, sex, and sports. For some time the artist has been exploring limited or distorted perceptions of a culture and a people in her Burlas or Mockeries series.
A second thematic at work in the solo exhibition of Quisqueya Henriquez is the dynamic cross-section of the formal with the informal. The artist uses the informal language of economies with the formal language of the History of Art. In one multi-layered and multi-colored outdoor installation, Market, the artist dialogues on economic activities which occur outside “the system”. The work also operates as an informal extension of the gallery.
Related works to these concepts of the informal are sculptures made of PVC pipes and hand-woven colored rubber, A Heap of Paradise. These works are based on street personalities who go from bus stop to bus stop in the Dominican Republic covering the steering wheels, gear shifts, and rear view mirrors of buses in beautifully hand-woven colored rubber. One of the A Heap of Paradise sculptures uses classic geometric design, which revisits the idea of sculpture as formal in contrast to the informality in which the works are cloaked. Taking an artisan’s approach to the materials used, for example in an Arco Lamp sculpture, succeeds in giving the works a more domestic, quotidian meaning.
The artist has a mid-career survey show currently on view at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York, The World Outside: A Survey Exhibition 1991-2007 through January 27, 2008. The exhibition’s next venue is Miami Art Museum from April 25- July 20, 2008. Henriquez’s mid-career survey show has already received two reviews in the New York Times. On October 26th, Ken Johnson’s review Minding the Gap Between Rarefied and Local Art Culture states, “A video called “Intertextuality” that shows a chicken wandering around on a city street has been altered to give it the high-contrast darks and lights and the intense, fruity color of an Andy Warhol painting… The effect of such works is to conflate in the viewer’s mind two habitually separated realms: that of rarefied high art and that of popular culture and ordinary life. The larger significance for Ms. Henríquez is in the perception that the world’s ruling cultures have tended to claim high art for themselves while granting to the Southern hemispheres the “lower” orders of vernacular, folk and tribal arts.”
In the artist’s October 28th New York Times review by Benjamin Genocchio, Enthusiasm for Rubbish that Avoids Clichés, the critic states “Ms. Henríquez’s sculptures are by contrast funny, tough, enlightening and curious — in short, everything artwork in a museum should be… at the same time she strives to find beauty, or a kind of beauty that is touching and real even if it is not pretty… Honest, tender and improvisational, they [her works] make for a show that is unabashedly charming.” The artist was also included in the September 2007 issue of ARTnews, “25 Trendsetters.”
Quisqueya Henriquez has exhibited throughout Latin America, Europe, and the United States. Her work is in important private and public collections including: El Museo del Barrio, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, Florida; Miami Art Museum; Cintas Foundation, New York; and the Rhode Island School of Design.