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gladys triana

SHARPLY INTO A LIGHT SPACE point of contact gallery Feb 27 - Apr 25, 2014

Diffuse Reflection, 2013

sharply into a light space GLA DY S TRIANA

This exhibit at Point of Contact Gallery in Syracuse, New York is made possible thanks to the generous support of The College of Arts and Sciences, the Coalition of Museums and Art Centers at Syracuse University, and the New York State Council on the Arts.


This new series of photographs was created to evoke the global crisis that surrounds the imminent threat of major climate change. As an artist, my way of being proactive is by creating awareness of what is happening through the illusion of my photography. Within the virtual space of these pictures, my imagination builds metaphors about the future of our environment with images divested of time and space, in which light and shadow are the two protagonists. The mystery that emerges from the play between light and shadow is the key, suggesting the evident impact of this distortion. In the videos The Observer (2011) and In Solitude (2012), I visualized the ephemeral nature of the pressures of our daily life and I diluted them in a creative meditation. The installation ...the leaf of paper falls refers to the natural and ceaseless transformation of the universe. It is an active performance of nature and history.

The history of the printer began in 1040 BC when Bì Shēng, the first printmaker, used porcelain tablets to stamp Chinese characters onto rice paper. Over two thousand years later, in 1440 AD, Johannes Gutenberg was struck with the idea to create a special machine that would rapidly print books. Now, in the last ten years, we have created technologies that allow us to print any object imaginable. These recent developments have inspired the ideas of this installation in a poetic way. The concept of performance in this installation is the synthesis of the printer, the paper, and the inception of the image. The printer performs – it takes the role of the tree dispersing its leaves, providing us with the beauty of nature’s printed bounty. It is a recovery of the natural through a presentation of the unnatural – an illusion. The act of presence and participation manifests through the space and its audience. I do not intend to evoke a theatrical piece, but rather an exchange of sharing and sending, in which the visitors can pick up the abstract images as part of themselves.

Illuminated Twins II, 2013

Spaceless IV, 2013


translation by loreley gomez

The artist Gladys Triana (Camagüey, Cuba, 1937) proposes through the exposition Sharply into a Light Space to promote a dialogue that revolves around one of the fundamental questions for the comprehension of the evolution of the human being: What is nature? In this way, we can affirm that the works which shape this exhibition a series of photographs and an installation of performing character presented under the title: the leaf of paper falls (2014), represent the result of a profound, voluntary creation, centered in an insatiable curiosity to unravel the qualities of that which defines the world that hosts us. Nonetheless, this infinite curiosity does not situate itself in an inquiry dominated by the objective appearance of nature. It does not deal with the sensible perception of the real; they are not images of familiar and pleasant landscapes. On the contrary, their visual propositions place themselves in the context of an idealistic interpretation, where the experience generated in the spectator, through dialogue with the works, transforms itself in a field of convergence that searches to integrate diverse visions of the universe. It is about linking, understanding that surrounding reality, as a complex process of

dynamic interrelations between space and time, area and spirit, life and the inert. In that way nature, the universe, conceives itself in terms of events that evolve in complex territories. In essence it’s about an aesthetic endeavour, we dare to suggest, rooted in the romantic imprint of the XVIII and XIX century that at its moment rose its voice in opposition to the dominant mechanism of the time period. In Gladys Triana’s images, there is, just as José Antonio Navarrete proposes, a discourse: cryptic, dark, ambiguous and, not many times, annoying and even disturbing. This way, we find in these estranged atmospheres reminiscences of some of the paintings of the British William Turner (1775-1851), those in which the contrasts of light and shade assume the leadership of the pictorial theme and in which the absence of composed prominence announces the beginning of the dematerialization of reality as a visual model. Equally, we can find ties with another romantic, the German painter Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840), here the alliance is established by the overflowing realism, that transmutes, in the search for a composition that aspires to perspicacity.

The Wind , 2013

In this sense, we can affirm that the creating gesture, in Gladys Triana’s case, emerges as a form of particular knowledge based in the intuition and the human thought. This wisdom does not pretend to construct itself from a properly scientific or instrumental rationality; on the contrary, it opposes itself to this look. Then, its critical imprint becomes clear, questioning: to promote from art, from the sensitive, a reflection of nature, and that it in itself implies a valuation, a question for the human being and the framework that hosts it and sustains it in the context of its contemporaneousness. Now well, its strategies articulate themselves upon the construction of a poetic visual that makes a duality of the light and the shadow

which operates as a demiurge of ampler stage: the universe. Such as Gladys Triana herself indicates: Inside the virtual space of these images, my imagination constructs metaphors about the future of the universe. Creating a new reality with images without time, nor space, in which the light and the shadow are two protagonists. Then, this game of lights and shadows starts to reveal a reality in which it glimpses as a metaphor the trace of something disastrous, worrying, sinister, telluric. These images emerge as disfigured metaphors of a dying condition: a silent scream, suspended: without space, without time. It reflects the set which performs the anguish of the contemporary individual,

Shapes , 2013

suppressed to being in the world in the context of a climatic crisis that advances unstoppably like the perpetual movement of the celestial bodies in the universe. It’s about a registered anguish in a cosmological and existential order. There, the question for nature turns into a question for the transformation of the human being. If we review the titles that describe the photographic series (2013) which compose this exhibition Sharply into a Light Space, we can clearly discern its articulation with the ideas previously proposed, let’s see: Echoes, Only One, The Wind, Flames, Illumined Twin,

Spaceless. All the titles textually reinforce the image, to forms of the subject linked to its physical state, to existential conditions proper of the contemporary subject. The titles of the photographs, such as Navarrete sustains: they only help us localize a simple crack by which we should glide carefully to work with valor in the passing, evasive, and evanescent readings that the images allow us to make, as if they would allude more to a drama of mental and emotional states. I would dare to suggest they propose, also, an existential drama, cosmological, which intends to promote through the use of language in its essential state the links of the

scene of photography, not only boards the space as an installing gesture, here: it happens, transforms, participates, raises as an act of pregnancy: it falls; it becomes rhythm that which means also to make time and space in movement: music. So, through it as an act, as a discursive experience, this work also speaks to us of the nature in permanent state of change, of displacement, of acceleration, of contrasts. Nature and the language assumed as processes that take place, in movement.

human being with the world that contains him. The questions about nature supply answers to the transformation of the human quality that occurs and endures in the stages of the contemporary realities. There resides the poetic dignity of Gladys Triana’s work, in the persistent construction – from the sensitive – of these perennial questions. The installation piece, the leaf of paper falls (2014), provides, in the expository group, a nucleus of important strength, given its performing character. The image not only suggests from the individual, two-dimensional

Gladys Triana’s voice is one which exemplifies the intention of this work, in which every fifteen minutes a printer placed at a certain height lets a printed image fall and comments: The eyepiece of the camera captures a part of what we call the conscience of the habitual, but as we approach what is printed, the astonishment is like a lightning bolt which forces us to search for the certainty of something concrete. The image itself requires our participation to interpret its meaning. The image, as well as nature, requires the action of the language to unveil itself. Image and nature come together in Gladys Triana’s proposal as an invitation to the perpetual and unavoidable deciphering; the astonishment – as she has already said – is a lightning bolt. Therefore, regardless of the darkness there is light, maybe an exit to the human and natural dilemmas of our time exists.


La artista Gladys Triana (Camagüey, Cuba, 1937) propone a través de la exposición Sharply into a Light Space propiciar un diálogo que gira alrededor de una de las preguntas fundamentales para la comprensión del devenir del ser humano: ¿Qué es la naturaleza? De esta manera, podemos afirmar que las obras que conforman la muestra: una serie de fotografías y una instalación de carácter performático presentada bajo el título: the leaf of paperfall (2014), representan el resultado de una profunda voluntad creadora, centrada en una insaciable curiosidad por desentrañar las cualidades de aquello que conforma el mundo que nos alberga. No obstante, esta infinita curiosidad, no se sitúa en una indagación dominada por la apariencia objetiva de la naturaleza. No se trata de la percepción sensible de lo real, no son imágenes de paisajes conocidos y placenteros. Por el contrario, sus proposiciones visuales se ubican en el contexto de una interpretación idealista, donde la experiencia producida en el espectador, mediante el diálogo con las obras, se convierte en un campo de confluencia que busca integrar diversas visiones sobre el universo. Se trata de vincular, entender esa realidad circundante,

como un proceso complejo de interrelaciones dinámicas entre el espacio y tiempo, la materia y el espíritu, la vida y lo inerte. De esta manera la naturaleza, el universo, se concibe en términos de acontecimientos que devienen en territorios complejos. En esencia se trata de una empresa estética, nos atrevemos a sugerir, enraizada en la impronta romántica del siglo XVIII y XIX que en su momento alzó su voz en oposición al mecanicismo imperante de la época. Hay en las imágenes de Gladys Triana, tal como lo propone José Antonio Navarrete, un discurso: críptico, oscuro, ambiguo y, no pocas veces, desazonante y hasta perturbador. Así, encontramos en estas atmósferas enrarecidas reminiscencias de algunas de las pinturas del inglés William Turner (1775-1851), aquellas donde los contrastes de luz y sombra asumen el liderazgo del tema pictórico y donde la ausencia de protagonismos compositivos anuncian el inicio de la desmaterialización de la realidad como referente visual. Igualmente podemos encontrar vínculos con otro romántico, el pintor alemán Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840), aquí la alianza se establece por el realismo

Evolution III, 2013

desbordado, que trasmuta, en la búsqueda de una composición que aspira a la trascendencia. En este sentido, podemos afirmar que el gesto creador, en el caso de Gladys Triana, emerge como una forma de conocimiento particular basado en la intuición y el pensamiento humano. Este saber no pretende construirse a partir de una racionalidad propiamente científica o instrumental, por el contrario se opone a esta mirada. Entonces, queda clara su impronta crítica, cuestionadora: propiciar desde el arte, desde lo sensible, una reflexión sobre la naturaleza, y que la misma implique una valoración, una pregunta por el ser humano y el entramado que lo alberga y sostiene en el contexto de su contemporaneidad.

Ahora bien, sus estrategias se articulan sobre la construcción de una poética visual que hace de la luz y la sombra una dualidad que opera como demiurgo de un escenario más amplio: el universo. Tal como la propia Gladys Triana lo indica: Dentro del espacio virtual de estas imágenes, mi imaginación construye metáforas sobre el futuro del universo. Creando una nueva realidad con imágenes sin tiempo, ni espacio, en el que la luz y la sombra son dos protagonistas. Entonces, este juego de luces y sombras comienza a develar una realidad donde se vislumbra como metáfora la huella de algo funesto, inquietante, siniestro, telúrico. Estas imágenes emergen como metáforas desfiguradas de una condición agónica: un grito

Evolution I, 2013

silente, suspendido: sin espacio, sin tiempo. Refleja la escenografía que pone en escena la angustia del individuo contemporáneo, sometido a estar en el mundo en el contexto de una crisis climática que avanza indetenible como el movimiento perpetuo de los astros en el universo. Es decir, se trata de una angustia inscrita en un orden cosmológico y existencial. Allí la pregunta por la naturaleza se convierte también en una pregunta por el devenir del ser humano. Si repasamos los títulos que describen la serie fotográfica (2013) que compone esta muestra Sharply into a Light Space podemos percibir claramente su articulación con las ideas anteriormente propuestas, veamos:

Echoes, Only One, The Wind, Flames, Illumined Twin, Spaceless. Todos los títulos remiten, refuerzan textualmente la imagen, a formas de la materia vinculadas a su estado físico, a condiciones existenciales propias del sujeto contemporáneo. Los títulos de las fotografías, tal como sostienen Navarrete: sólo nos ayudan a localizar una simple grieta por donde debemos deslizarnos con cuidado para trabajar con denuedo en las lecturas transitorias, huidizas y evanescentes que las imágenes nos consienten que hagamos, como si ellas aludieran más bien a una dramaturgia de estados mentales y emocionales. Yo me atrevería a sugerir que proponen, además, una dramaturgia existencial, cosmológica, que intenta propiciar a través del uso del lenguaje en

su estado esencial los vínculos del ser humano con el mundo que lo contiene. Las preguntas sobre la naturaleza proporcionan respuestas sobre el devenir de lo humano que acontece y padece en los escenarios de las realidades contemporáneas. Allí radica la dignidad poética del trabajo de Gladys Triana, en la construcción persistente ─desde lo sensible─ de estas preguntas perennes. La pieza instalatoria the leaf of paper fall (2014) proporciona en el conjunto expositivo un núcleo de fuerza importante debido a su carácter performático. La imagen no solo sugiere desde el plano bidimensional propio de la fotografía, no solo aborda el espacio como gesto instalativo, aquí: acontece, deviene, participa, se erige como acto de gravidez: cae; se hace ritmo lo que significa también hacerse tiempo y espacio en movimiento: música. Entonces, a través de ella como acto, como experiencia discursiva, esta obra también nos habla de la naturaleza en permanente estado de cambio, de desplazamiento, de aceleración, de contrastes. La voz de Gladys Triana es la que mejor ejemplifica la intención de este trabajo, en el que cada quince minutos una impresora emplazada a cierta altura deja caer una imagen impresa, al respecto comenta: El ojo de la cámara capta una parte de lo que llamamos la conciencia de lo habitual, pero al acercarnos a lo impreso, el asombro es como un relámpago de luz que nos

obliga a buscar la certeza de algo concreto. La imagen en si requiere de nuestra participación para interpretar su significado. La imagen al igual que la naturaleza requiere de la acción del lenguaje para develarse. Imagen y naturaleza confluyen en la propuesta de Gladys Triana como una invitación al desciframiento perpetuo e insoslayable, el asombro ─ ya lo dijo─ es como un relámpago de luz. Entonces, a pesar de la oscuridad hay luz, tal vez exista una salida a los dilemas, humanos y naturales, de nuestro tiempo.

Shadows I-XVII, 2013

ABOUT THE ARTIST Gladys Triana was born in Camagüey, Cuba, and since 1975, resides in New York City. She completed a BA at Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY; (1976) and MA at Long Island University, NY; (1977). She studied printmaking at the San Fernando University in Madrid, Spain (1970-1972). In 1993 and 2009 she received the Oscar B. Cintas Fellowship. 2013-14 she received the Joan Mitchell Foundation for The CALL program. Her artwork includes prints, drawings, paintings, collages, works on canvas, photography, installations and video. Triana’s works is held in the collections of museums such as: El Museo del Barrio, New York; The Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York; El Museo de Arte Moderno, Santo Domingo; El Museo de Bellas Artes, Santiago de Chile, Chile; El Museo de la Ciudad, Querétaro, Mexico; Housatonic Museum, Connecticut; The Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Frost Art Museum, Miami; ASU- Art Museum of Fine Art at Arizona State University, Arizona; Museo de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba; as well as in many private collections. Triana’s work has had numerous international solo exhibitions including Gladys Triana, Drawings in two time, Museo Francisco Goitia, Zacatecas, México (2006); Every time, is Now at El Museo de Arte Contemporáneo,

Aguascalientes, México, (2005); Confluencias at El Museo de la Ciudad, Querétaro, (2004); Cada vez es ahora at Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina, (2003); Confluencias at Centro Cultural El Palillero, Cadiz, Spain (2003); The Ulla and Greger Olsson Collection, Contemporary Latin American Art at Kultucentrum I Ronneby, Sweden, (1997); Jeux de Memoire, Espace Nesle, Paris, France, (1997); Path to Memory, The Island, at The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, New York, (1995); and El Camino de la Memoria El Laberinto, Museo de Arte Moderno, Santo Domingo, (1991). Group exhibitions include Voces y Visiones, at Museo del Barrio, New York, (2010-11) and Biennial exhibition, ev+a 2003- on the border of each other, Limerick City Gallery of Art, Limerick, Ireland, (2003). Triana’s work has also been published in: Women Photographs, from the LUAG Teaching Collection, (Book Published Lehigh University, 2011), Memoria, Cuban Art of the Twenty Century (California International Art Foundation: 2002), Time Capsule, A Concise Encyclopedia by Women Artists (New York: 1995), Lines of Vision, Drawing by Contemporary Women (New York: 1989), Art of Cuba in Exile (Miami: MC Printer Edition 1987), and Cuban Encyclopedia (Miami: 1975) y Pintores Cubanos (La Habana: Ediciones R, 1962).

Only One, 2013

Gerardo Zavarce Holds a degree in arts from the Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV, 2000). He has excelled as an investigator, promoter and assessor in the area of visual and cultural arts. He has been a professor and chair of art sociology, analysis of socio-cultural reality, a seminary in aesthetics and community service of the college of arts at UCV. He has participated as an organizer and speaker in national and international events and permanently collaborates with various art publications. He has excelled as curator and investigator in the Organización Nelson Garrido (Caracas, Venezuela), El Anexo Arte Contemporáneo (Caracas, Venezuela) and The Chill Concept (Miami, USA). Gerardo Zavarce Licenciado en artes por la Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV, 2000). Se ha desempeñado como investigador, promotor y asesor en el área de cultura y artes visuales. Ha sido profesor de las cátedras de sociología del arte, análisis de la realidad sociocultural, seminario de estética y servicio comunitario de la escuela de artes de la UCV. Ha participado como organizador y ponente en eventos nacionales e internacionales y colabora permanentemente con diversas publicaciones de arte. Se ha desempeña como curador e investigador en la Organización Nelson Garrido (Caracas, Venezuela), El Anexo Arte Contemporáneo (Caracas, Venezuela) y The Chill Concept (Miami, Fl, USA).


Pedro Cuperman artistic director

Miranda Traudt

managing director

Rainer Wehner preparator

Kathryn Kelly designer

Cassandra Caveness managing assistant

Rose Picon

communications cordinator

Sarah Aiken

program coordinator

Tere Paniagua

Executive Director Cultural Engagement College of Arts and Sciences Syracuse University

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"Sharply into a Light Space" by Gladys Triana  
"Sharply into a Light Space" by Gladys Triana