Cinta Vidal – Viewpoints | Main Room

September 15, 2018 – October 6, 2018

Cinta Vidal
Viewpoints (Main Room)

Thinkspace is pleased to present Viewpoints, the gallery’s second solo presentation of works by Barcelona-based painter Cinta Vidal. Trained professionally at the Taller de Escenografia Castells Planas in St. Agnès de Malanyanes as a scenographer to create larger than lifesized theatrical backdrops for opera and dance, Vidal has balanced an apprenticed theater trade, work as a freelance illustrator, and her independent output as a muralist and fine artist. Her highly detailed paintings stage a surreal simultaneity in which multiple vantage points intersect, unfettered by gravitational laws. These fractured landscapes and architectures represent a multiplicity of experience, as Vidal hopes to convey the endless variations and relativisms of subjectivity. Her imaginative and dizzyingly fractured works remind us of the feeling of existential disconnect when faced with the incongruity of our inner and outer worlds.

Vidal has always pursued her own work alongside her other professional art ventures, the technical demands of her scenography and illustration work shaping the aesthetic resolve and fastidious execution of her personal output. Her ongoing series of gravity-defying forays into physical and metaphorical space began in 2013. She has since continued to refine and perfect the direction of this fragmented world of spatial free fall, increasing the level of detail and realism in each piece. This unexpected fusion of chaos and control, in which the laws of physics are no longer absolute but the exaction of realistic rendering, perspectives, and shading, is no less meticulous, compels the viewer to consider the inherent heterogeneity of personal perspective. Vidal eschews abstraction in favor of relatable objects and identifiable spaces to explore this feeling of strange familiarity in a universally accessible way.

The artist’s paintings have evolved from a practice primarily based in drawing. This illustrative aesthetic is evident in even her most hyper-realistically rendered painted works, anchoring them visually in a graphic confidence. Her deconstruction of daily spaces ranges from the more architectural and at times abstractedly geometric to the organic and nondescript. Her figurative subjects are anonymous and random, but the personal finds expression through the artist’s choice of objects and mise-en-scène; often pieces from her own memories and life, like the mid-century modern furniture belonging to her grandparents.

In Viewpoints, Vidal offers her patented spatial and experiential synchronicity in the creation of worlds that feel both united and estranged in their divided closeness. Just as in real life, several versions of the same moment coexist imperceptibly to the subjects, as they themselves are caught in the confines of their singularity. Working primarily in acrylic on panel, Vidal combines seeming contradictions in a concurrence of extremes. Structurally and symbolically, she reorganizes elements of the known and every day into jarring disarticulations of conventional structures and places in a single frame. This has manifest in the past as more specific themes, such as the environmental impact of industry and the coexistence of multiple cultures and histories.

Thematically, this work emerges from the impossibility of ever fully understanding the “other’s” experience; this is the fundamental metaphor that governs Vidal’s visual empathy. Envisioning our diversity as a positive divergence that can lead at times to common and shared experience, a brief respite of cohesion in an otherwise endlessly divided world, Vidal reminds us of the endless potential of altering our vantage points.

INTERVIEW WITH CINTA VIDAL

Opening Reception with the Artist(s):
Saturday, September 15, 2018
6:00pm – 9:00pm

Benjamin Garcia – Panacea | Project Room

September 15, 2018 – October 6, 2018

Benjamin Garcia
Panacea (Project Room)

Concurrently on view in the Thinkspace Project Room is Panacea, featuring new works by Venezuelan artist Benjamin Garcia. Fascinated by the psychological fracture of the individual and the competing impulses at work in any single identity, Garcia’s painterly style is emotive and gestural.

His works reveal the figurative subject in a state of transformation or becoming. These are discrete moments of revelation expressed in the shifting and itinerant quality of the artist’s paint application, dynamic psychological portraits mitigated by the gestural viscosity of the media. The coexistence of distress and beauty shape Garcia’s works with an undeniable pathos; the “Panacea” in this case appears to be the healing work of paint itself, and the emotive and universalizing outlet it provides in a time of factious disorder.

Inspired by great illustrators like Jean Giraud, aka. Moebius and Bill Sienkiewicz of Marvel Comics’ fame, the corpulent, fleshy contemporary figurative painting of Jenny Saville, the illustrations and graphic novels of Kent Williams, and the darkly works of preeminent portraitist Lucian Freud, Garcia’s inspiration comes from all visual domains, from both “high” and populist expressions of figuration.

Combining moments of chaos in his work with the tempered control of composition, Garcia slides in and out of affective extremes. At one side, governed by impulses of ecstatic joy and sensuality, and on the other, foiled by the spectrum’s opposing impulses of anxiety and violence. The coexistence of these oppositions, articulated in the representation of the body as a tangible vehicle for the psyche, feel both relatable and seductive, beautifully powerful and inexplicably unhinged.

INTERVIEW WITH BENJAMIN GARCIA 

Opening Reception with the Artist(s):
Saturday, September 15, 2018
6:00pm – 9:00pm

Interview with Benjamin Garcia for “Panacea”

We’re excited to show Venezuelan artist, Benjamin Garcia’s newest body of work Panacea in the Thinkspace Project Room. Garcia’s emotive and gestural painterly style allows him to create figurative subjects in a state of transformation or becoming. In anticipation of Panacea, we have an interview with Benjamina Garcia discussing dreams, his creative process, and artist toolbox.

SH: How do you approach developing a new body of work? Were there specific themes or techniques you wanted to explore in Panacea?

BG: Well, the development of this particular body of work was a kind of revision of old themes and ways of working and also experimentation with new ways and trying to combine them. I’m always on the search for a kind of balance between the completely figurative and planned aspects of painting and the emotional and primitive approach to abstraction and freedom. The perfect combination of this two aspects eludes me still but in a way, there has been sizeable progress towards discovering some facets of it.

The themes and symbols of the paintings really came to me subconsciously. I believe a big inspiration for most of it is the sense of isolation that comes from being stranded out of the country I grew up in and the sense of loss that comes with having to escape dictatorship separating from friends and family. The horrors of loss and the pain of seeing basically the worst of human nature in a sort of 1984/Soviet Union style. The real deconstruction of the basis of society is something that when experienced permeates your work whether you want it or not because it makes you question reality itself. I really did not intend for it to be about that but I can feel a taste of those emotions in the paintings.

SH: Is there a particular piece in this exhibition you feel really challenged you? If so, why and what makes you proud of this piece?

BG: There is: Dia Secreto. It was a really difficult piece for me to develop because the compositional aspects are really complicated and also it took me like a month to plan. Really got into trying to paint this regular scene like really bucolic but then there is something mysterious that happens in that story. Also, it was really difficult for me to execute.

SH: How do you plan out your compositions? Where do you source inspiration?

BG: I start looking for inspiration in movies or photography, magazines, video clips. I´m always being bombarded by stimulus from all sources and an amalgam of all of it is what basically gets painted. I try not to have a preconceived idea of what I want. I like to see it done and then go back and try to figure out what it means.

SH: What excites you about your work / creative process?

BG: Basically what really excites me is to get out of my confront zone all the time. To try to develop and discover how my basic pictorial language grows.

SH: What frustrates you about your work / creative process?

BG: Not connecting emotionally sometimes with the subject matter. And get stuck in trying to figure out the next steps trying to not play it safe.

SH: What’s in your toolbox? AKA what paints, brushes, tools would we find in your studio? What do you wish was in your studio?

BG: I wish I had more people in the studio. I sometimes go paint with friends in a shared space. But my main studio is kind of lonely. Also, I paint with the cheapest brushes, I spend more on the canvas and paints mainly but I think I´ve never painted with an expensive brush in all my life.

SH: After a show what do you do? Do you take a long break, vacation, a particular ritual? Tell us.

BG: After a show, I try to take it easy a couple of weeks and just draw and be in like a free space outside the studio to then get right back into it.

SH: What is an aspect of other’s artwork that really excites you, what are you drawn too?

BG: I really love the freedom in the strokes of Jenny Saville. Also, I love the complex social scenes of Kerry James Marshall.

SH: Has there been someone or some event that has made a significant impact on you that lead you to where you are now? An artistic catalyst of sorts?

BG: Well, there is my brother Lucas. He is a real inspiration to me. He is a writer and illustrator. As he is my big brother I always look up to him and always thought it was possible for me to live being an artist because I saw him thrive.

SH: In a past interview you expressed your brushstrokes are a way of capturing your unique dream, “I can never focus my attention on more than one item at a time and sometimes it’s all fuzzy and disjointed, I want my paintings to be a bit of a window into that state.” As a person who remembers their dreams, can you share with us one that has a particularly interesting through-line you might remember?

BG: In dreams, one always see things in a sort of blurry way. And always everything is skipping like a broken record and scenes juxtapose in time. People are at one time one person and then other people. Reality is never still in dreams. I had a dream the other day where I was speaking with Bill Murray and also he was my father. Both persons at the same time. A dream character who is two people at the same time is something I can’t wrap my head around. Is more like the meaning of a character what you really interact within a dream. He was speaking to me about what it means to be an adult and have a family while we walked on the water of a river like Jesus.

SH: You have a time machine, and you could do anything / go anywhere for 24 hours, and would not interfere with the space-time continuum. What would you do?

BG: I would go to the beginning of time and see if there is such a thing and come back with the answer and possibly freak everyone out.

Interview with Cinta Vidal for her exhibition “Viewpoints”

We are two weeks away from our first major solo exhibition with Cinta Vidal, “Viewpoints.” In her latest body of work Vidal continues to explore the idea of viewing the world from different perspectives and how to translate that vision. It has been two years since her last exhibition with us, Gravities,  at the Culver City gallery and we are excited to share our interview with Cinta Vidal that explores her growth as an artist, how she challenged herself with this new body of work, and her time travel destination.
SH: How do you approach developing a new body of work?

CV: The exhibit in Thinkspace gallery’s main room is my biggest challenge to date. I’ve never exhibited in such a big space, it is a big opportunity for me to present a large collection of my new work. My focus now is to explore deeper into the concept of sharing the same world but seeing it from different points of view.

SH: Were there specific themes or techniques you wanted to explore in “Viewpoints”?
CV: In this show, I wanted to explore to the maximum of all the possibilities that the gravity style can give me. Also, I wanted to develop more of the different ideas that I have evolved over the last two years. Like round detailed worlds, stairs compositions or floating furniture. I also changed the painting technique in the majority of the pieces. I use to paint in acrylic, now I paint in oils.
 
SH: Your pieces always have multiple interesting scenes and focal points, do you develop those scenes before starting and composing the complete piece or do they evolve and come to you as you’re working on one section.
CV: I’m a crazy perfectionist and I usually work in a very detailed sketch before painting the final piece. Sometimes I decide to add elements in the scenes while I’m painting them, like trees or cats. But much of the composition is always decide previously. Maybe I should start improvising more in order to give a more fresh touch to the pieces.
 
SH: Are the locations in your work inspired by real places?
CV: Sometimes yes. In ‘Viewpoints’ I present 5 pieces that are inspired by real places. 3 of them come from recent trips: Tai-O (Hong Kong), La Gomera (Canarias) and Nijo (Japan). These pieces are really special to me because they are like a summary of my experiences in those places. I really want to explore more of this line of work – that means that I need to travel a lot!
SH: You’ve traveled around the world for your mural work. What locations had one of your favorite meals?
CV: It’s hard to say, I’ve enjoyed a lot the meals from all the places I visited. Maybe I should say that Japan was one of the most splendid, culinarily speaking.
 
SH: Is there a particular piece in this exhibition you feel really challenged you? If so, why and what makes you proud of this piece?  
CV: The piece CITY is very special for me. It is a mix of stairs, people, trees and architecture, something that I had never done before. The composition is very different than I usually do because the building surrounds the painting. It was a bit complicated to me to solve this piece and I’m proud because it keeps a consistency with others, but it has a different accent.
SH: What excites you about your work / creative process?
CV: The most exciting part is that everything around me could be a big inspiration. I’m always looking for new buildings, textures, trees, etc. My phone is full of ‘inspiration’ from my walks. Then I start to draw, it’s the part I enjoy the most.
 
SH: What frustrates you about your work / creative process?
CV: The big amount of details. I love to lose myself painting for hours, it’s like a meditation. But sometimes it is a bit frustrating when I look at the piece from afar and I’m not convinced by the overall result. It’s part of the process. Until I’m no longer uncertain about the results, I do not end it. It’s an internal fight.
 
SH: After a show what do you do? Do you take a long break, vacation, a particular ritual? Tell us.
CV: After a show, I try to relax and not to start new projects. But that’s easy to say.
I clean the study thoroughly in order to make space for the new projects and sometimes I go travel to totally disconnect.
 
SH: Who is an artist; musician, director, any art form – who would be a dream collaboration for you and what would you create?
CV: I love theatre, and contemporary dance. The choreographer Pina Baush is a big inspiration to me. Sadly she passed away. But one day I would love to be involved in a project with contemporary dance. 
 
SH: Has there been someone or some event that has made a significant impact on you that lead you to where you are now? An artistic catalyst of sorts?
CV: The most important catalyst for me was working as an apprentice in Taller de Escenografia Castells Planas in St. Agnès de Malanyanes. I learned from Josep and Jordi Castells to love scenography and the backdrop trade. There I learnt how to paint and to be rigorous with work
 

SH: You have a time machine, and you could do anything / go anywhere for 24 hours, and would not interfere with the space-time continuum. What would you do?
CV: I will go to do plein air with fauvism painters, to spend a day with Paul Cézanne, André Derain and Henri Matisse. That would be a dream come true.

Join us Saturday, September 15th from 6 – 9 pm for the opening reception of “Viewpoints” 

Vitality &Verve III: Artist Panel Discussion and Dinner by Long Beach Museum of Art – Friday, August 24th

Join LBMA for a night of cocktails, dinner, and discussion at our Artist Panel Discussion with POW! WOW! artists Michael Reeder, Lauren YS, and Spenser Little. The discussion will be moderated by the Museum’s Executive Director, Ronald C. Nelson, and the co-owner of Thinkspace Projects and co-curator of Vitality & Verve: Transforming The Urban Landscape (on view until September 9, 2018), Andrew Hosner.

For more information and to purchase a ticket for the dinner visit the Eventbrite link here.

Photos courtesy of Birdman Photography