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MIYAKO YOSHINAGA

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USA

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Lasting Life: Works by Dominique Paul and José Luis Fariñas

July 6-August 5, 2022
This exhibition features a selection of works by Canadian artist Dominique Paul and Cuban artist José Luis Fariñas. Paul's opulent photographic prints concern the biological and ecological coexistence of humans and insects, whereas Farinãs's intricate ink-and-watercolor drawings deal with the introspective and philosophical implications of their coexistence.

Dominique Paul (born 1967) is fascinated by the transformation of the human body as a result of physical exercise, plastic surgery, or genetic engineering. This once controversial but now congenial notion of body transformation informs Paul’s fantastical invention of hybrid creatures. She combines the elements of human bodies with those of plants and insects in her “Insects of Suriname” series. The lacy cutouts of bodybuilder’s flesh are buoyed by colorful consumer products, all found in various magazines. These surrealistic scenes of chaos share a background of cutout collage images of flora and insects by Maria S. Merian, a Baroque-era naturalist. Taking the form of a botanical mandala, Paul strives to express a sense of urgency and questions the durability of the entire ecosphere in these times of human exploitation of the planet’s resources.

José Luis Fariñas (born 1972) explores the subjects of chaos, infinity, and transmutation in philosophical and biblical allusions in ink-and-watercolor drawings. These images are threaded together through Fariñas’s singular vision of the universe, in which our conflicted reality is successively metamorphosing. Unlike Paul whose work is informed by scientific observation, Fariñas invents an array of symbolic motifs to fortify this vision. He repeatedly portrays a half-human half-insect creature such as a winged old man with insect antennae in nightmarish scenarios, as well as an egg that is metaphorically the birth of the universe. In the mysterious surroundings of human life, Fariñas sees the eternal cycle of our emotional ups and downs without end.

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