Monday, July 18, 2016

Alisa Henriquez: Museum of Art, University of Maine

Makeover Culture Disfigured No. 7, 2016, Digital prints, found paper, foam core, resin on wood panel

Alisa Henriquez (The Constructed Body; The University of Maine Museum of Artforces us to gather ourselves. With her formidable visual compilations, her collage aesthetic, her large mounting walls of horizontal oval surfaces, like mountain pools breeding new life, she wows us with a complete arsenal of explosive form and meaning.

The world she puts before us is many things: analog and digital; found, appropriated, photographed, and painted; graphic design, text design; flat and then richly suggestive of three-dimensional space and form; black&white and dynamic color, psychological and sensual. Shocking and daring. Intimate and unnerving. Apocalyptic Venus Fly Traps. Unblinking gender-political discourse.  A powerful and compelling in your face challenge to a dehumanizing consumer practice and endgame. Stops and starts. Twists and turns. Body parts that feel bent through a distorted lens. A socio-media fun house mirror. A lot of fun but razor sharp edges. Dramatic changes in focus. A vision kaleidoscopic. Dazzling optics in every sense of the word.

Makeover Culture Disfigured No. 3 2016 digital prints, magazine images, found paper, acrylic paint, glitter, fabric, synthetic hair, resin on wood panel 52” x 68”

Alisa Henriquez is making something happen for a brave new world. To push outside the box. To get beyond painting and embrace the possibilities that a more installation oriented art creates. To make so many things happen at once. To celebrate the vibrant complexity that is our lives. 

Like some fierce investigator, she is trying to figure out what's going on. In that spirit, we are right there with her. Shapes and images collide, and crash, in a wonderful cacophony of Babel-like collage chaos that she orchestrates, that she pulls together, that like some postmodern-day super hero, she saves the day.

Her works pile up like totems, or friezes, like sumptuous Mary Shelley Frankenstein figures of a sort, but with her own radical brand of social and cultural criticism, her own art lexicon, that we can read and discover and piece together, forcing our eyes upwards, dwarfing us, like Surrealist wall carvings or paintings, but from Ancient Greece or Egypt. We marvel at them. We recognize some fragment, and then another, and might wonder how they fit in the puzzle beautifully spread out before us. Bits and pieces of design and art history and art flotsam and jetsam driving home her vision. A vision fast and furious in Alisa Henriquez's brilliant patchwork tsunami warning of what's to come.

Addison Parks
Spring Hill, July 2016

Digital prints, magazine images, acrylic paint,
 resin, glitter, fake fur, vinyl, rubber on wood panel, 
54 × 27 in

Digital prints, magazine images, acrylic paint,
 resin, glitter, fake fur, yarn on wood panel, 
66 1/2 × 32 1/2 in

Alisa Henriquez, 2014, Eclipse, Digital prints, magazine images,
 acrylic paint, oil paint, on wood panel, 58 1/2 × 23 1/4 in

Alisa Henriquez
May 13 - September 10, 2016
The University of Maine Museum of Art
Bangor, Maine 

Alisa Henriquez was born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised in Vancouver, Canada where she first studied at Emily Carr College of Art and Design. She went on to earn a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and a MFA in Painting from Indiana University. She also attended the Yale Summer School of Music and Art with the support of the Ellen Battel Stoekel Fellowship. She is an Associate Professor of Painting at Michigan State University. A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn, NY exhibits her work.

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