Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Three Artists present CUBA ADRIFT at City Gallery

For City Gallery’s April show, CUBA ADRIFT, member artist Roberta Friedman has invited quilter Sue Millen and photographer Hank Paper to join her in presenting this visual story of Cuba, its past and present, its ruin and resiliency. Don’t miss this inspiring exhibit, on view at the Gallery from April 5 - April 29, with an Opening Reception on Saturday, April 7 from 3-6pm, and a concluding Artists’ Talk on Sunday, April 29 at 2pm.

Each artist has traveled to Cuba at different times in recent years, and each came away with images, colors, and motifs reflecting its vibrancy, contrasts and complexities caught in a world adrift with political and social contradictions. “The story of CUBA ADRIFT is about the visible layers of neglect and decay so evident in Havana, and other smaller cities and throughout the countryside,” explains Friedman. “But it is also the story of the vibrant resiliency of the Cuban people and their customs that emerge despite and in defiance of politics and poverty.”

Roberta Friedman is a painter and collage artist, most recently focusing on the layered art of encaustic waxes, oil pigments and photo transfers. This art form is well suited to depict the layers of crumbling majestic architecture in Havana, and brightly painted and re-painted buildings and homes in cities like Trinidad, Sancti Spiritus, Ceinfuegos, and Camaguey. Her paintings, too, reveal layers of paint sanded and scraped to reveal what lies beneath. Discovering what lies beneath is the ache and the joy of Cuba.

Despite recent expectations, Cuba—its crumbling cities ever beautiful, its people, ever resourceful—is stuck in time,” says photographer Hank Paper. Shooting around the world, photographer Paper tries to capture images that alter our awareness, puncture pretension and mines irony from surface appearances. As on any island, it’s instinctive to look out— at ships, sails, the horizon—looking out and ahead. But on the Malecon, Havana’s five-mile haunting, romantic promenade, you invariably find people looking in from the water, because the once bustling harbor and horizon is empty. It’s as if there is nothing to wait for, nothing to expect. My camera follows this sad but ever beautiful current of this: Cuba adrift.”

Juxtaposed to the sense of loss and limbo are the vibrant, innovative, determined people of Cuba. “They are a culture that has used their limitations to arrive at new ideas and solutions,” explains quilter Sue Millen. “The artists who continued painting with limited paint supplies and the musicians who had difficulty securing guitar strings were inspirational.” Her quilted pieces reflect that “make do” attitude, their frayed edges and patches speak to the Cuban people who have “learned to improvise and create within the boundaries of politics, economic hardships and lack of resources.”

The CUBA ADRIFT show and events are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. City Gallery is located at 994 State Street, New Haven, CT 06511. Gallery hours are Thursday - Sunday, 12 noon - 4pm. For further information please contact City Gallery, info@city-gallery.org, www.city-gallery.org.