Electric Hue

Image detail:
Nora Maité Nieves
Cielo Encancaranublado, 2021
Acrylic, corse modeling paste, fiber paste and flashe on canvas
52 x 48 in

Livia Ortíz
Icaro, 2020
Oil and acrylic on acetate
50 x 40 in

Opening Tuesday, July 6, 2021
PROXYCO Gallery, 121 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002

 

PROXYCO & Embajada proudly present Electric Hue, a two-person exhibition by Puerto Rican artists Nora Maité Nieves and Livia Ortiz . The exhibition features new and recent paintings created since last year, all of which are defined by an energetic style or technique. Nora’s and Livia’s works range from playful compositions with enigmatic mark-making to rich, colorful paintings with strong shapes and psychologically gripping environments. Taken as a whole, the exhibition reveals both artists’ mastery of the medium of painting and their shared desire to nourish its expansion.

Nora and Livia have known each other for many years, and although this is the first time they’ve exhibited together, they bring to the occasion a deep and ongoing dialogue within the language of their work.
Nora Maité Nieves has this to say about the similarities and connections in their work:

Thinking about Livia’s paintings and mine, I feel that the strong connections are movement and an electrical presence of energy that flows in our works, not only visually, but also conceptually. Livia’s search for meaning and logic in the midst of the chaos in her paintings propose to the viewer an opportunity to contemplate the beauty of losing control. This makes me think about our constant desire to find control and order, although we live in a constant combustion of change and transformation. Life is a constant movement. All matter is energy, everything insists on its own metamorphosis.

Livia makes her paintings through the construction of multiple layers of mark-making, paint, and surface. She uses transparent and metallic surfaces made of acetate and plexiglass to create her compositions. By keeping many areas transparent, the artist allows the paintings to breathe, interacting with both the background and with surface reflections of the surrounding space. This creates an effect that the paintings are floating in the air. For me, this is so important because she reminds the viewer that a painting doesn’t only belong to its edges, it also expands and belongs to the space around it, even including the viewer as an active element of the painting. The paintings are not static. Her compositions are full of electrifying movement, almost like the materialization of sound waves that dance in space, or the residue of powerful forces, like the energy flow of lightning or the movement of the tectonic plates changing the shape of earth.

I connect to this strong presence of energy and movement in my own work through the use of a saturated color palette that expands through my paintings. My paintings are also built up through layers of paint, almost like making a collage with paint. As with Livia’s paintings, my work is also in conversation with the ideas of painting in the expanded field. To expand on the idea of a two-dimensional image, like a painting, being perceived as an object, sometimes it feels as if the paintings are emerging from out of the wall. In the same way that you can feel the movement of the body through Livia’s works, you can feel the weight and mark-making in mine.

For me, this exhibition brings together ideas of movement, chaos, and change that we experience in the abstract worlds of nature and in the “order” of civilization. Change and chaos are beautiful and painful processes of life that aim to evolve, to survive and be better.

 

Livia Ortiz (b. 1985 Arecibo, Puerto Rico) lives and works in New York. In 2012 she completed her MFA in Studio Arts from the Memphis College of Art. Her works are currently on view in the exhibition […] Entreformas at the Museum of Art of Puerto Rico, curated by Abdiel Segarra Ríos. Her works have been presented on the Vortic art platform with Embajada Gallery (2021), Freight + Volume Gallery (New York, 2013), Masur Museum (Louisiana, 2015), and La Muestra Nacional del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña in San Juan (2015), among many others. Livia’s work has been featured in New American Paintings Magazine, and in 2016 she was awarded a residency at the Vermont Studio Center.

Nora Maité Nieves (b. 1980 San Juan, Puerto Rico) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She received her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2010, and her BFA from La Escuela de Artes Plásticas, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 2004. In summer 2021 Nieves was invited as a visiting artist at the Ox-Bow School of Art & Artists’ Residency in Saugatuck, MI. Recent solo exhibitions include: Deep Blue Day, Pink Bright Night at Embajada Foyer, Brooklyn (2021); Full Room in the Sun Room at Fresh Window Gallery, Brooklyn (2019); Paisaje Lunar at Flyweight Projects, Brooklyn (2019); and Tangible at Hidrante, San Juan, PR (2018). Recent group exhibitions include: Surfacing at Ruiz-Healy Art, New York, curated by Carlos Rosales-Silva (2021); Contact Light at Survey Survey, New York (2021); […]ENTREFORMAS, at El Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR, curated by Abdiel Segarra (2021); Rubus Armeniacus (Himalayan Blackberry) at Jessica’s Apartment Gallery, New York, curated by Jessica Kwok (2019); Nada Tropical at Miscelanea Gallery, Barcelona, Spain, curated by Ricardo Cabret and Maximilian Juliá (2019); Small Objects at La Salita, New York, curated by Paz Monge (2019); Repatriation at El Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR, curated by Bianca Ortiz (2019); and EDDYS Room at Galleri Thomassen, Gothenburg, Sweden, curated by Austin Eddy (2018).