Halcyon Gallery presents An American Trilogy, an inaugural solo exhibition by Spanish artist, Ernesto Cánovas. With over 25 works, the exhibition draws on the diverse landscape and culture of the United States.
The exhibition is titled after a song made popular by Elvis Presley in the 70’s. Influenced by history, cinema and popular culture, Cánovas sources images from old and new media to produce evocative, semi-abstract paintings that capture a fleeting moment in time, a snapshot or flash of an event’s memory – the event remaining secondary in importance to that of the image which represents it.
Each work presents the viewer with a duality from which perceived truths are to be questioned and re-fashioned into a new understanding. What is presented is American Contemporary History captured and then demanding to be observed and studied.
Art Critic Jessica Lack describes the work in the exhibition catalogue foreword: ‘The paintings combine Hollywood drama with a more jittery vision of the American dream where the Cold War is never far from the margins. Some of Cánovas paintings depict an unbounded America, a place free of doubt and paralyzing ambiguities in which heroes like John Wayne say, “saddle up” and “let’s ride”. Where men make their own codes, do what they have to do, get the girl and ride home through the cottonwoods. Other pictures are taken from news reports marking historical precedents forever ingrained in the collective memory; the unsteady step of an astronaut against a speckled sky, a towering inferno, or the funeral of John F Kennedy... But the majority of Cánovas pictures capture America’s aspirational life-style - the glamorous girls, the modern apartments, and the idolised stars that once lived in them... ‘An American Trilogy’ in its haunting familiarity, reminds us that nothing in the real world is set in stone, but equally once glimpsed, nothing is ever truly erased.’
Spanish artist, Ernesto Cánovas employs a multi-layered practice of painting, drawing, printmaking and photography. Cánovas’ artworks are heavily worked and only realised through careful contemplation. Exuding an ironic and somewhat discerning sense of obscurity, the subject matter is not always clarified. By combining the vocabulary of Pop Art with sources from old and new media, he successfully produces work that captures snapshots of the present-day, presenting the viewer with a duality from which the perceived truths are questioned and refashioned.
Ernesto Cánovas was selected for The New Contemporaries Exhibition in Edinburgh and was awarded The Stevenson Award for Painting in 2010. He recently exhibited at Saatchi Gallery and Channel 4′s New Sensations 2011 and received the Premio Ora 2013 arts award. Later in the year Cánovas’ work will feature at the Royal Scottish Academy as part of Generation 14.