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In his current exhibition, on the top floor of The Gallery in Altos de Chavón, Fermín Ceballos bares his soul in a series of large, cathartic paintings on tarred canvases. Thematically, the works are a kind of auto-exorcism—these are self-portraits, for the most part—fraught with wounds that draw no blood. In these vast black spaces we find guilt most punishing. The paintings recall Mexican ex-votos, works of psychological cleansing and torturous introspection. Ceballos endures the suffering with his signature deadpan expression, always clad in the rumpled pajamas that we know him by.
The oil-slicked-pavement background of these figurative works is as important as the figures themselves. Ceballos meticulously treats his canvas with layers of tar or asphalt, a conglomerate that he then cures in the sun. The result is the ultimate light-absorption recipe, a matte black surface that crazes and develops a texture with marbling and depth. Maybe it’s me, but it seems that the asphalt absorbs sound as well. You stand before one of the life-sized Ceballos figures and you feel the hush of the acoustic tar surface sucking the sound from around you. An auditory void envelopes you and renders you vulnerable to the image.
Few contemporary artists possess the skill and determination that Ceballos presents in this exhibition. His paintings are obsessive and deeply personal, but his concept achieves universality. We are awed by his brushwork and the quality of his line; we cannot help being impressed by his graffito drawings, his astounding linear rendering. The show is a tour de force, a remarkable journey into darkness and haunting dreams of dismemberment and introspection. It is not to be missed.
Persistent Dreams by Fermín Ceballos opens tonight, Thursday April 3rd at The Gallery (2nd floor) in Altos de Chavón, and will remain on show through to April 29th.
Opening Cocktail for “Artists-in-Residence” Exhibition
When: Thursday April 3rd, 7:30pm
Where: The Gallery, Altos de Chavón
Contact: (809) 523-8470
About Fermín Ceballos
Fermín Ceballos is a dominican artist, born on the 27th of January 1978 in San Cristobal (a province located in the south of Dominican Republic) Fermín, he is a graduate of the National Fine Arts School in Santo Domingo.
Fermín Ceballos presented at his first individual art exhibition in 2002 at the Arawak Gallery in Santo Domingo,and has since then represented the Dominican Republic on several occasions abroad, winning numerous national and international awards.