Contemporary Art in the Americas Arte Contemporáneo en las Américas

Nu Works”

Nel Figueroa

Recinto Cerra Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico January 30, 2020 – March 6, 2020

Nel Figueroa, Nu Works” (2020). Installation view. Image courtesy of Zawahra Alejandro

Nel Figueroa, Nu Works” (2020). Installation view. Image courtesy of Zawahra Alejandro

Nel Figueroa, Nu Works” (2020). Installation view. Image courtesy of Zawahra Alejandro

Nu Works” reflects both the internalization and externalizing of Nel Figueroa’s life experiences of the past three years. The loss of his studio due to Hurricane Maria’s passing through Puerto Rico and the hundreds of earthquakes being felt south of the island (region where Nel stems from), since December 28, 2020. These circumstances have lead the artist to new techniques, concepts and imagery.

Fruit baskets still life, vandalized vases filled with flower-like creatures and personified exotic birds are among Nel’s new subject matter. All of these are depicted with a simultaneously controlled, but exaggerated “Caribbean color palette”, to comment on external allusions of how Caribbean paintings “should” look like. This is happening over a thick ground layer that along graffiti elements create a feeling of decay. Both objects and animals are presented in a transition state, either appearing or disappearing. The animals show a contemplative gaze while smoking or drinking.

Through his work Nel have converted everyday objects and situations into representations of uncertainty, sudden loss, stress, self-medication, promised help, resources shortage and displacement.

Recinto Cerra

Nel Figueroa, Nu Works” (2020). Installation view. Image courtesy of Zawahra Alejandro

Nel Figueroa, Nu Works” (2020). Installation view. Image courtesy of Zawahra Alejandro

Nel Figueroa, Nu Works” (2020). Installation view. Image courtesy of Zawahra Alejandro

Nu Works” reflects both the internalization and externalizing of Nel Figueroa’s life experiences of the past three years. The loss of his studio due to Hurricane Maria’s passing through Puerto Rico and the hundreds of earthquakes being felt south of the island (region where Nel stems from), since December 28, 2020. These circumstances have lead the artist to new techniques, concepts and imagery.

Fruit baskets still life, vandalized vases filled with flower-like creatures and personified exotic birds are among Nel’s new subject matter. All of these are depicted with a simultaneously controlled, but exaggerated “Caribbean color palette”, to comment on external allusions of how Caribbean paintings “should” look like. This is happening over a thick ground layer that along graffiti elements create a feeling of decay. Both objects and animals are presented in a transition state, either appearing or disappearing. The animals show a contemplative gaze while smoking or drinking.

Through his work Nel have converted everyday objects and situations into representations of uncertainty, sudden loss, stress, self-medication, promised help, resources shortage and displacement.

Recinto Cerra

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