The gallery is thrilled to present Soul’s Documents, the third solo exhibition comprising new watercolors from Havana-based José Luis Fariñas. Informed by the artist’s ongoing research of the Bible and the Book of Genesis, the aesthetic crossroads of Medieval mysticism and Renaissance humanism finds a new breath of life in the imaginative oeuvre of Fariñas.
The spiritual narrative developed in Soul’s Documents explores the churning inner layers of a world inhabited by creatures and ghostly apparitions. Working with a reduced palette of colors, mostly ocher, Fariñas is able to depict complex sceneries with detail and precision that unfold like a dream. Soul’s Documents are not portraits of rest and peace. Rather, they embody scenes of chaotic change. Throughout the exhibition, the iconography expresses the intensely obscure and ambiguous world of the artist’s soul. In Fariñas’ watercolors, hybrid creatures inhabit floating landscapes, and ovoid shapes cocoon a microcosm of spirits and larvae. These half human-half insect chimeras evolve in various stages of metamorphosis, alternatively embracing their human likenesses and surrendering to their animal natures.
Fariñas’ masterful watercolor technique executed with an extra thin brush gives the viewer a rare opportunity to see contemporary draftsmanship at its strongest. The precise detail of his poetic freehand lines exposes the unbounded inner worlds of the artist’s imagination. With Soul’s Documents, Fariñas employs his distinctive style and technique to achieve a conscious state of unconscious exploration, one that evokes the magical realms of Gustave Moreau’s Symbolist work and the preternaturally vivid visions of Albrecht Dürer.
Each psychic landscape is a documentation of Fariñas’ introspective mind, a mind striving to reach beyond personal values, traumas and hopes to ever further realms of possibility. About his thesis of Soul’s Documents, Fariñas himself says: “I try to focus, metaphorically, on some eventual horizons of fragmentation that support different levels of realities. Perhaps, like the metaphor of Hermann Hesse's Das Glasperlenspiel, I construct variations on a theme, submerged glances at the soul's agony in the chaotic and abyssal labyrinth of existence.”
José Luis Fariñas was born in 1972 to Spanish-Cuban parents of Sephardic origin. A graduate of the San Alejandro Academia de Artes Plásticas with high studies in the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, Fariñas has been included in more than 30 solo exhibitions and 140 group shows both in Cuba and abroad. In the United States, museum exhibitions include the Museo de las Américas , the Mizel Museum of Judaica, (both in Denver); the MDC Museum of Art + Design (Miami) and the Jewish Community Center of Pittsburgh. Recently, two art books illustrated by Fariñas for LIBER Ediciones, Cervantes, el soldado and Apocalypsis, received First National Prize for Book of High Bibliophilic Art (2006, 2010) and are included in the German Book Museum’s collection in Leipzig.