The Artists Archives of the Western Reserve is proud to present its exhibition Visual Emotions- The Way I Remember You, Augusto C. Bordelois’ inaugural solo show as an Archived Artist. The event will be celebrated with an opening reception on Thursday, November 9, 2017, 5:30 – 8:00pm.
Bordelois, a native of Havana, Cuba, is known for his sensual, narrative style of Magical Realism created through traditional Renaissance painting techniques. Though it is tempting to confuse Magical Realism with its popular and highly publicized cousin, Surrealism, Bordelois is quick to point out the fundamental difference between the styles. “In Magical Realism, every element means something. In Surrealism, you’re putting everything your brain is generating right into the painting. In [Magical Realism] everything is calculated, everything has one thing to do- to tell a story.”
Narrative is paramount in Augusto’s work. It transcends media and even begins before the piece is created. “I write the story before I paint,” Bordelois explains, “I am a story teller by nature. If I wasn’t using paint…I would find another way. To me, painting is just a medium to tell a story.”
Visual Emotions will primarily feature paintings from Bordelois’ Outcasts and Other Rejects series. Far from being discarded or unfinished work, each piece reveals vignettes, meticulously crafted from layers upon layers of symbolic language. The “Outcasts” and “Rejects” Bordelois refers to are the characters within the paintings, who struggle to find self-acceptance and belonging within their relationships. Many of the subjects are also outcasts from society at large, inspired by real-life people, including pimps and prostitutes that frequented clubs where Augusto once bartended.
“This group of paintings has a more serious and philosophical flavor. But sometimes it is hard to see the connection among them because they don’t tell a lineal story. Each painting is story of something that has happened to me, or a person that I have met. This is my take on personal, social events and the lives of others distilled through my brushes and encoded with ten thousand symbols.”
This encrypted visual language is one of the most striking elements of Augusto’s work. The meaning of objects can sometime seem quite opaque while others images are warmly familiar, beckoning us closer to explore and decode. His canvases are populated by herds of blue rabbits, ruffed Elizabethan dwarves, musical instruments, overflowing pots of sunflowers, and men in black bowlers hats drifting through exotic backdrops. Bordelois’ paintings are truly visual poems, written in an emotional language and begging to be translated.
Another unique feature of Bordelois’ work is his depiction of women. The women in Bordelois paintings are not only ubiquitous, they are undeniably strong. “I paint powerful women. If one of my women hits you, you’re going down.” Bordleois playfully notes. This strength, however, extends much further than their physical bodies. The story of the Outcast series is really the story of power and appearances- who is perceived to have power in day to day life, and who truly has it when pretense is stripped away. It is these relationships that captivate Bordelois. “The relationship between men & women, or lovers, the relationship about power- there is no other story line- at least not for me. That’s what it is. The rest is variations of that.”
In addition to Outcasts and Other Rejects, other series that are represented in the show are Brides and Warriors which depicts the effects of war on youth and Immigrant Stories which Bordelois began shortly after moving to the United States.
Bordelois describes “I became aware that for some people no matter what my passport reads, I won’t ever be a “real” American. But I only started painting when the controversy about immigration in the United States and Europe started heating up. Every time that the news outrage me, because of a new law or another politician blaming immigrants for the faults of society, I add a couple of paintings or drawings to this series.”
Augusto C. Bordelois graduated from the University of Havana with a major in English Language and Literature. He has also studied sculpture, ceramics, costume design for theatre and cinema, classical drawing and painting. His visual artwork has been awarded much recognition in Cuba as well as competitions in the United States. He has participated in more than 120 national and international group shows and 31 solo exhibitions. Some of his works are in private collections in Cuba, the United States, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Ecuador, Japan, Greece, Germany, Chile, Switzerland, England and Norway. His work is also part of the permanent collection of Cleveland Marshall Colledge of Law / Cleveland State University and The Artists Archives of the Western Reserve (AAWR).
Augusto is a teaching artist at the Center for Arts-inspired Learning (previously known as Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio), The Art House and the Ohio Arts Council. He has served as a board member at Near West Theater, and is currently a board member with the Center for Arts-inspired Learning. He is a member of CSU’s Cleveland Arts Education Consortium Diversity Committee. He has been featured as a guest lecturer at Cleveland State University and Baldwin Wallace University. Currently, he owns and directs Augusto Fine Art Studio and Art Center in Berea, Ohio.
In addition to the opening reception on Thursday, November 9th, 5:30 – 8:00pm, the AAWR gallery will also be open on Friday, November 10th until 8pm in conjunction with the opening of The Sculpture Center’s exhibitions, Screaming Voicelessly to a Distant Silence and Sculptural Voyage/2017/Andrew T. Chakalis.
As part of its upcoming exhibition Visual Emotions- The Way I Remember You and the new 2017 ART BITES series of Collecting Art Talks, the Artists Archives of the Western Reserve is proud to present Cuba: The Land, the People, the Arts – 60 years after Castro’s Revolution with Irene Shaland, on Saturday, November 18th, 1 – 3pm
Cuba defies conventional thinking: with half the land and people of the whole Caribbean, it seems more of a continent than an island. At the crossroads of the Western hemisphere for over 500 years, 20th century Cuba became a country where the clocks stopped for many decades. Its recent troubled history presents a story of brutal oppression and deprivation, but which is at the same time intriguing and fascinating. From the hot music clubs to Che Guevara murals, sensuality and socialism rub shoulders in Cuba’s great cities; and the newly-allowed art galleries display cutting-edge paintings and sculptures that might make New York or Santa Fe envious. Dilapidated mansions neglected for decades stand side-by-side with beautiful newly renovated colonial, art nouveau and art deco buildings.
Take a journey with internationally published art and travel writer Irene Shaland to rediscover this island against the background of its 500 plus year history. Travel from Santiago to Havana, from Cienfuegos to Trinidad- to learn how Cuba is finding its way back to the future.
Cuba: The Land, the People, the Arts – 60 years after Castro’s Revolution with Irene Shaland is FREE and open to the public, however, please REGISTER on our website, www.artistsarchives.org or call 216.721.9020 to reserve a spot. AAWR is fully wheel-chair accessible and has ample free parking both in its adjacent lot as well as on East 123rd Street. Light refreshments will be served after the program. The ART BITES series of programming is free courtesy of a matching grant provided by Cuyahoga Arts and Culture (CAC).
The Artists Archives of the Western Reserve would also like to thank Ohio Arts Council, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, Ohio Art Dealers Association, the George Gund Foundation, the Bernice & David E. Davis Foundation, the William Bingham Foundation and the Zufall Foundation for their continuing support.
Press release submitted by:
The Artists Archives of the Western Reserve Gallery www.ArtistsArchives.org
1834 E 123rd St Cleveland, OH 44106 216.721.9020 / [email protected]
Open Hours: Wed – Fri., 10:00am – 4:00pm, Sat 12:00 – 4:00pm
Images: Augusto C. Bordelois, George and the Dragon, Oil on Canvas; Augusto C. Bordelois, Living on Bits of Love, Oil on Canvas; Augusto C. Bordelois, There Are Days the Rabbits Eat My Heart, Oil on Canvas (Permanent Collection of the AAWR); Augusto C. Bordelois, The Things I Do For You, Oil on Canvas; Augusto C. Bordelois, Wishing A New Tomorrow, Oil on Canvas; Alex Shaland, The Malecon, Digital print (promotional image for Cuba program)