(February 1, 2024)

Banner Art: Jorge Ibanez)

Although I have lived in Gainesville, Florida, for over 40 years, I still present myself as a Puerto Rican artist.

I work in pastel, watercolor, linocut, photography, and acrylic. Recently I have been working mostly in acrylic and watercolor. I have shown my works in individual and group exhibitions in Florida and Puerto Rico and there are some who have actually bought some of my pieces. Go figure…

I have always considered my artistic work an effort to nourish and keep alive my curiosity and my capacity for amazement. I firmly believe that one of our most important and critical responsibilities is to fiercely defend our capacity to be amazed at the impossibility of life, a capacity that life itself (the train of experiences, good and bad surprises, and discouragements) evaporates, substituting it with boredom and nihilism (or its counterpart, fanaticism). At my age, it is our only salvation from being a living dead.

As the horrors of 2020 recede into the labyrinths of history and our selective memory draws arabesques trying to confirm an elusive normalization, the Big Trauma hides its sinister presence just under the veneer surface, while exacerbating those old and never fully departed collective traumas that have been waiting to ambush us all. The Great Reset did arrive on call but quite different than the one we had expected. It is indeed a new horizon.

Artists can’t help but feel that, as artists, we are living our quartet-on-deck moment as we see humanity diving head-first into another Dark period in this obsession of our species to break down to rebuild only to break down again and rebuild. But we have a historical responsibility. We artists are the encoders. We are called on to archive humanity’s best and highest aspirations and, like the medieval scribes, save our specie’s hopes, dreams and fears, so humanity will have a toe hold from where it can rebuild, still once more.

It is critical that we ALL embrace at this moment our duty and responsibility to hold on tight to our humanity, remind ourselves stubbornly that we are much more than a glorified ape, that sharing 99.9% of our DNA with the chimps leaves a very important .1% that elevates us into a whole different sphere.

Let’s answer our call.

This series of art on cardboard will hang in conversation with accompanying quotes from poems, novels or folklore, as partners in the artistic moment. The pieces themselves include acrylic paintings, mixed media, and collage. Although the art suggests the accompanying quote and the text talks to the art, the art is not an outright illustration of the text. On the contrary, sometimes the graphics seem to have no relation to the text, meeting it at an intertext level. It is the tension between both what makes for the artistic experience and, in my opinion, ponders our current options. My purpose was not to comment on the inflectional moment we have come to live on, but hold the pieces of raw cardboard as mirrors to our collective awe.

For my digital portfolio, see: https://www.instagram.com/musas_jibanez/

Muses, a solo exhibition by Jorge Ibanez, March 11 through April 22, 2024



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