Artistic expression achieves its greatest freedom in the studio, a space devoid of curatorial parameters, where the artist dispenses with formal and rigid canons to play and experiment with different materials. In the exhibition Por la libre at Galería Yemayá, this artistic experimentation rooted in the studio is taken to the gallery for artists Bobby Cruz and Carlos Rubio, providing an unrestrained space for creativity and personal expression.
Be it through painting, sculpture and drawing, Bobby Cruz’s work heavily draws on the personal. As the main piece of the show, the sculpture Liberar suggests contradiction and opposition. Made of welded metal links, the word liberar (to free) is enclosed within the material and process used, suggesting perhaps a desire to break with established patterns or with the conceptual definition of the work.In Pump, the artist presents a chronology of basketball sneakers fabricated between 1988-1992. These images recall the urban sneaker sub-culture, a phenomenon that has reached the free market economy through Sneakerheads, collectors of all types of basketball sneakers, who have positioned these mundane objects as a hot commodity within the marketplace.
Carlos Rubio’s process relies on constant experimentation and the search for objects discarded on the road or in landfills, and their subsequent recycling and assembly into organic forms. With toys and found objects, Rubio creates small creatures that he playfully personalizes with faces, eyes and hands. In turn, the artist makes large format sculptures made of plastic car bumpers molded in his workshop to create masks and forms reminiscent of animé characters. Through experimentation and the interplay of forms, Rubio inffuses these previously discarded objects new life, creating striking cartoonish characters with bright colors, creating a very Caribbean pop aesthetic.
Have we returned to a time of playfulness and experimentation in artistic practice? In an era of “post-isms”, where contemporary art resists any type of definition, is it still relevant to determine? As the title of the exhibition suggests, perhaps now is the time to go freely, to experiment and question ourselves more intensively.