Carlos Vega

July 3- August 23, 2008

James Harris Gallery is pleased to present its first solo exhibition by New-York based Spanish artist Carlos Vega. For the past decade, Vega has been using the medium of collage to explore rifts between the past and present, the fantastic and mundane. Making flea markets his playground, Vega collects the documents that past generations have left behind, finding inspiration not only in personal letters and diaries, but also ledger pages and legal records. Vega then adds his own painted elements, drawing attention to these found documents that have lost both meaning and value. Over time the relationship between Vega’s appropriated texts and painted interventions has evolved, the poetic statements embracing more humor and even irreverence.

Contrasting the lighter whimsy of many of Vega’s collages will be two etchings on lead, a new medium for the artist but related to his early training in printmaking. These works embrace a darker surrealism, populating pastoral settings with figures that are nude and sometimes disembodied. Vega’s expressionistic marks on the metal plates, spare in both detail and composition, are evocative, particularly in their minimal context. Do these scenes reflect the past, present, or future, or all three?

While different in technique and effect from the collages, Vega’s lead works powerfully bring fantasy together with elements of everyday experience, drawing a common thread between these two distinct aspects of the artist’s current practice. Moreover, like the found documents reanimated by the artist, Vega imbues the lead, with all of this material’s history and associations, with new life.

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