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"Francisco Alvarado-Juárez: Canto a la Fauna"
2001-03-03 until 2001-04-29
Everson Musuem of Art
Syracuse, NY, USA

Francisco Alvarado-Juarez is an American artist born in Honduras who has lived in New York City since 1965. His work stems from the art historical notion of flora and fauna, literally, plant and animal. He has done extensive research of the plant and animal life on the Iberian and American coasts, which he uses as inspiration for his work. Part one of the exhibition, Fauve New York, creates a vivacious world of the North American ecosystem, where wildlife from both the land and sea meet in torn and reconstructed images.

The creatures emerge from gallery walls that are covered with approximately 4,000 individually cut and painted supermarket bags that overwhelm the eye with vivid color. Alvarado-Juárez fills the floor of the gallery with debris from nature - such as sand, shells, and bones - to symbolize the final stage of all living matter; death, which is emphasized by the crackling sound it makes under your feet as you view the exhibit. The overall result is a life-like habitat, filled with the bright colors and sounds of any child’s fantasy. The second part of the exhibition, entitled New York Trophies, is comprised of twelve acrylic paintings of endangered mammals, most of which are native to North America, among them antelope, bison, elk, caribou, and reindeer. The paintings are rendered with impastoed, pointillist marks of vivid hue. Rather then the traditional rectangular image, these pictures are painted on an irregularly shaped surface, like the tanned hide of one of these animals. Each irregular plane is further altered into jigsaw-puzzle-style sections, where the shape of the cuts echoes the sinuous forms of the depicted animals. This compositional strategy works metaphorically to suggest the shattering of a natural order, the skewing of any equilibrium between humankind and nature. “Humans have the power to destroy and to conserve,” Alvarado-Juárez has observed. “I want people to see and feel the exuberance of nature, but I also want them to understand that nature is ephemeral and that we must protect it now.” Over the past eight years, Francisco Alvarado-Juárez has been creating such installations across the world in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. His work has been shown nationally at The Studio Museum in Harlem, P.S.1 Museum, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Public collections containing his work include the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, the National Museum of American Art in the Smithsonian Institution, and the San Antonio Museum of Art in Texas. Alvarado-Juárez has received prestigious art awards such as the Pollock-Krasner fellowship in 2000 and in 1991, the National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in 1989 and 1985, and the 2000 New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship. Francisco Alvarado-Juárez: Canto a la Fauna was supported with funding from the Rosamond Gifford Charitable Corporation. All Everson Museum of Art exhibitions are sponsored by the Fernando Carter Friends and the George Fisk Comfort Society.

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