Curatorial Work > From Shape to Form

Xavier Robles de Medina
Untitled
Xavier Robles de Medina
Untitled

Graphite on paper
15” x 12”
2014

www.xavierroblesdemedina.com
Exhibition Statement
My work starts where contemporary attitudes intersect painting’s immense historical timeline. I examine a personal set of images to aid in transmitting my own narrative, simultaneously satisfying an affinity for delicate craftsmanship.
Growing up with a beautician and a dentist as parents and an artist grandparent, I was presented with concepts of aesthetics at an early age. To me all three professions involve a practical attitude towards personal aesthetics as well as varying degrees of conceptual engagement. My tools range from (oil) brushes, graphite pencils, ink pens, and dental scalpels. I transform the materials by caressing, massaging, pulling, and pushing skin-like surfaces and forms.
The oil on linen work “Dipi Gron Tiri” (trans. “Deep Waters are Still”) recollects the construction of the Surinamese Brokopondo Reservoir in 1963, which spurred an artificial flooding of villages, driving thousands from their ancestral grounds even as many welcomed it to stimulate economic development. It is clear that this scene is dually informed by current world events, and in some ways mirrors the ambivalence of living between cultures as a Surinamese person in Europe.
My recent solo exhibition “If you dream of your tongue, beware” presented modestly sized ink, and graphite works on paper. The title is taken from an essay in Eliot Weinberger’s “An Elemental Thing.” Fascinated by the poetic potential of re-presenting factual information, I start by collecting images mainly from Surinamese news, documentaries, and history books. I compose the drawings by combining (“Pietà”) cropping (“We continued drinking in silence”) and sometimes even reducing the source images so that sparse, concentrated sections of drawing are scattered on the white paper (“Untitled”.) For me this translation through drawing, highlights alternate perspectives to the source material, broadening evocations and fueling new works.