Sometimes one wonders where the art is in the Artist Village of Altos de Chavón? Right now, and for the next few weeks for all to enjoy, is the Art Gallery’s most “Chavón” show. Basically, it’s the work of the school’s (the Chavón School of Design) current Fine Arts students. The gallery is showcasing some works in progress that are part of “thesis” projects for the graduating class. There are also other works that are done by first year, foundation students. We’ve even put up for display and sale, some art by graduates of years past.
Is it Art Chavón? Most assured it is!
There are the tour de force works of Chavón’s classically trained students, exploring their identity with an array of stunning portraits so skillfully done they stop the viewer in his or her tracks. There are conceptual pieces, non-objective works that challenge our preconceptions of what ART is… while inviting interpretation and simultaneously allowing us to project personal meaning onto these mystical and deliberately ambiguous works… these include a work comprised of colorful wax bits, another that shows a bleeding heart white shirt, and two splendid mandalas made of bamboo sheathes. There is even a series of oil on canvas that seems like giant slides pulled out from under a microscope, decorative biopsies.
Beyond all expectation are the touring portraits of the matriarchs of a venerable La Romana family done lovingly by their witty and charming grandchild. These truly are the show stoppers. Each face so full of image and text, scribble and graffiti, together they demonstrate the best of both art maker’s worlds: the classical training is at the service of the conceptual thinking. But above all, it is the staggeringly deft rendering of the expressive human face and the silly childlike doodles of romantic retro- child’s eye, a vision offered by a post-adolescent, that scores. These pieces are scene-stealers.
On Thursday, a former professor of art at New York’s prestigious Pratt Institute and a guest of a Casa de Campo villa owner wandered into the gallery while we put the finishing details on the installation. She clearly knew art when she saw it. This highly trained visitor to the gallery was prostrate with admiration for the show. She exclaimed, again and again, that it was as good as any exhibition could imagine, rewarding the viewer on so many levels.
Therefore, at this moment, this is a must-see exhibition at the Chavón Gallery. Not all are for sale, but some great pieces are and some have been carried away, as we speak, by eager cruise ship visitors. So hurry.
Pictures by Laura Perdomo