Carlos Gamez de Francisco

Carlos Gamez de Francisco

I was born in post-revolutionary Cuba in 1987 and educated in an academic style heavily influenced by the Russian Academy. This frame of reference is evident in all of my work. To deny my experiences, perceptions and the influence of history would be ignoring my own existence. These influences are the lens through which I create and the motivation that propels me.

As a Cuban, history has influenced me in a variety of ways. On the one hand, it allows me to rethink the way storytelling is part of our memories. On the other, it allows me to question the accuracy of history and its telling. This conflict absorbed me during my early years and continues to engage me as I complete my artistic education. Currently, this near obsession with the past translates into figures, scenarios, and most importantly, the creation of my own stories.

In Cuba, I was exposed to the influence of the figurative arts by the presence of the Russian Academy. This presence, as well as the censorship of contemporary art and the limited access to information, was the accepted dogma. Consequently, I understood that de-contextualizing epochs and artistic symbols was the tool I could use to establish a connection between the present and the past. The resulting work provides an escape from reality and creates an illusory world. I am more interested in altering history than depicting it accurately.

Taking reference from the core values of the Enlightenment, I believe in the use of reason as it alludes to the themes of power and hierarchy. This notion is reinforced by the recurrent use of portraiture and/or the use of round shapes to signify balance and purity. Now I focus on finding a provocative way to approach the established norms of perfection and beauty. I use these techniques and ideas to support the visual discourse but not as the most outstanding element of my work. This concept of revisiting and manipulating history explores the elements of repetition, excessive decoration and obscene abundance.

These images presented here refer to an apparent sense of happiness and well-being which in turn, insinuates a nonexistent time. Thus, themes and specific figures are examples of distorted reality illustrating my perceptions about life. I focus on modifying historical periods, fashion, images and contexts using insects, whether realistically represented or not, as imaginary elements recreating new contexts. Mainly, I recreate my experiences and memories by superimposing and manipulating historical figures and events.

Finally, understanding beauty in its various forms is the motivation for experimenting with non-conventional materials. My general approach is to demystify classical beauty and present it as a natural process and in its natural form.

EDUCATION
2016     School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL. Distinguished Scholarship.
2006     Jose Marti Fine Arts School. Holguin, Cuba
2004     Raul Gomez Garcia Fine Arts School. Holguin, Cuba.

Independent study with Cuban artists Miguel Angel Salvo, Cosme Proenza, and Harry Ruiz.

SOLO EXHIBITIONS (SELECTED)
2019
New Works, Weinberger Fine Art, Kansas City, MO
Modern Nobility, Miller Gallery, Cincinnati, OH
Specimen Lost in a Tropical Island, New Editions Gallery, Lexington, KY
2018 
An Uncommon Vision: Equines, Archetypes, and Allegories, New Editions Gallery, Lexington, KY
The Power of the Powerless. Moremen Moloney Contemporary, Louisville, KY
2017       
New Work. Kenise Barnes Fine Art, Larchmont, NY
FAQ’s 1789-1987. Moremen Moloney Contemporary, Louisville, KY
2015       
Troubling Beauty: Myth and Metaphor in Contemporary Costume Drama. 21c Museum, Bentonville, AR
2014       
Troubling Beauty: Myth and Metaphor in Contemporary Costume Drama. 21c Museum, Louisville, KY
Size Matters. The Green Building Gallery, Louisville, KY
Cactus Petals, Fluctuating Asymmetry, and Crimes of Passion. Tinney Contemporary, Nashville, TN
2013     
Pétalos de Cactus, Fluctuaciones Asimétricas, y Crimen Pasional. Visual Art Association, Holguín, Cuba
2012   
Radical Genealogy: The Decline of Dauphins, Courtesans and Hounds. Hardcore Art Contemporary Space, Miami, FL
Trio. Miller Gallery, Cincinnati, OH
Black Portraits of Pomegranate Eaters. Swanson Contemporary, Louisville, KY
2011     
Cuban Now. 21C Museum, Louisville, KY
2010
The Last Words of Louis XVI. Muhammad Ali Museum, Louisville, KY

GROUP EXHIBITIONS (SELECTED)
2019    
Dress Up, Speak Up: Regalia and Resistance. 21c Museum, Cincinnati, OH
Mix it Up! New Editions Gallery, Lexington, KY
Endless Summer. Miller Gallery, Cincinnati, OH
2018
46th International Art Exhibition. Brownsville Museum of Fine Art, Brownsville, TX
PHOTO’ 18. Kenise Barnes Fine Art, Larchmont, NY
Keep Your Clothes On. New Editions Gallery, Lexington, KY
30th Annual Decatur Arts Festival. Decatur Arts Alliance, Decatur, GA
2018
Art at the Center Juried Exhibition. Overland Park, KS
Merton Among Us. 849 Gallery, KyCAD, Louisville, KY
2017     
45th Mid-States Craft Exhibition, Evansville Museum, IN
Mistrz i morze. ArtGalle Galeria, Szczecin, Poland
2016
Context Art Miami, Ai Bo Gallery, Miami, FL
Cubaocho Museum & Performing Arts Center, Miami, FL
Cuban Fried Chicken. MAC Gallery, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Cuban Art: Influence and Articulation. Moremen Moloney Contemporary, Louisville, KY
Navigate. 1619 Flux Art + Activism, Louisville, KY
2015
New Blood Festival. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL
Art Southhampton. Glenn Aber Contemporary, NY
2014
Latin Views 2014. Alexey Von Schlippe Gallery, Groton, Connecticut
Miami New Media Festival 2014. The Chill Concept. Miami, FL
Art Hamptons, NY, Glenn Aber Contemporary
Art Palm Beach, FL, Glenn Aber Contemporary
2013
NSHMBA Louisville Fundraising & Awards Gala. NSHMBA, Louisville, KY
Dis-semblance: Projecting and Perceiving Identity. 21c Museum, Cincinnati, OH
Acuarelas III. Lombillo Palace, Havana, Cuba
2012
Scope-Art Basel, Miami, Hardcore Art Contemporary Space.
Latin Views. Alexey Von Schlippe Gallery, Groton, Connecticut
2011
Mada New Media Festival’11. Hardcore Art Contemporary Space, Miami, FL
Contemporary Realism. Miller Gallery, Cincinnati, OH
Acuerelas II. Lombillo Palace, Havana, Cuba
2010
Fronteras Desdibujadas. Periquera Colonial Museum, Holguin, Cuba
EKLEKTICITY. George Rodez Gallery, Miami, FL

AWARDS
2019     Honorable Mention, 2019 Moscow International Photo Awards, Moscow, Russia
2018     Honorable Mention, 30th Anual Decatur Arts Festival, Decatur, GA
2017     Museum Guild Purchase Award, Evansville Museum, Evansville, IN
2016     Ox Bow Merit Scholarship, Ox Bow School of Art, Saugatuck, MI
Capital Professional Development Program, 21c Museum, Louisville, KY
2015     SAIC Distinguished Scholarship, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
SAIC Grants, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Kurtich Travel Scholarship, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
2012    Key to the City of Louisville by Mayor Greg Fischer, Louisville, KY
2011     Norman Kohlepp Merit Awards. Louisville Visual Art Association,
Louisville, KY
2010    Capital Professional Development Program, 21c Museum, Louisville, KY
2009   “Dreammakers” Artist in Residence. Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville, KY
2008    City Award. Visual Art Association, Holguín, Cuba
2007    Best Performance. XXI Provincial Visual Art Exhibition, Holguín,
Cuba Best Short Film in the Seventh
National Festival of Audiovisual “By First Time”.Cuba
2006    Exhibit of Illustrated Poetry. Holguin Gallery, Holguin, Cuba

COLLECTIONS
Evansville Museum, Evansville, IN
21C Museum, Louisville, KY
Fashion Resource Center, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL
Cuba Ocho Museum & Performing Art Center, Miami, FL
Polanco’s Collection, Havana, Cuba
Louisville’s Metro Hall, Louisville, KY
Muhammad Ali Museum, Louisville, KY
Kentucky International Convention Center, Louisville, KY

Gamez de Francisco´s works are also in private collections in the United States, Spain, Luxembourg, Ecuador, Italy, Argentina, Costa Rica, and Mexico.

PUBLIC PROJECTS
2019 Mural commissioned by Origin Lexington Hotel, Lexington, KY
2017 Mural commissioned by Google and LVA, Louisville, KY

OTHERS
2012 La Boca del Lobo International Film Festival, Madrid, Spain
2010 “3Rd Annual KY Short Film & Video Showcase”. 21C Museum, Louisville, KY
2007 VII National Festival of Audiovisual “By First Time”, Holguin, Cuba