Galerie Ron Mandos proudly presents a new exhibition by Anthony Goicolea (USA, 1971), a first-generation Cuban American artist. He grew up in the Deep South of the United States of America, in the midst of the Cuban refugee crises, coupled with the advent of the AIDS crises, and the rise of the religious right. Goicolea was socially stigmatised for being Cuban, gay, and Catholic. These circumstances brought about a heightened awareness of social constructs, and the changing nature of identity in politics – a theme that continually influences his work. Goicolea explores themes ranging from personal history and identity, cultural tradition and heritage, to alienation and displacement.
The backbone of Goicolea’s practice is painting and photography. The key process of painting is a combination of inks, paints, graphite, and enamel applied directly on layers of Mylar. By painting front and back layers of semi-translucent frosted Mylar film, he adds and subtracts areas of varying opaqueness. In the series “Anonymous Self-Portraits” displayed at Galerie Ron Mandos, Goicolea paints sexually ambiguous figures caught between various states of dress. Many of the faces are obscured by large fields of white oil paint, roughly corresponding to shifting shapes of clothing. These architectural shapes abruptly divide the body and simultaneously conceal and unveil key components of traditional portraiture. The identity of each sitter lies in the body language and gesture rather than on facial recognition. The feature of a gnarled hand, a twisted arm, or a hunched shoulder are the identifying factors that characterises each (seemingly) anonymous portrait as that of an individual sitter with his own unique, personal identity.
The artist has exhibited widely throughout the world, notably at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, Illinois; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the International Center of Photography, New York; the Groninger Museum, the Netherlands; and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina So a, Madrid, Spain. Goicolea’s art is held in many public collections, includ- ing the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York; as well as the Yale University Art Collection, New Haven, Connecticut; the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; and Telfair Museums, Savannah, Georgia.