Glexis Novoa

...because open source matters

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Landscape of events

(Personal exhibition), Cheekwood Museum, Nashville, Tennessee, July 2008.

Nashville, TN – In his meticulous drawings, Glexis Novoa studies the messages conveyed through architecture and reveals how architecture, through its manipulation of space and materials, shapes our mental and social lives. The resulting exhibition, Landscape of Events, will be on display in Cheekwood’s Temporary Contemporary gallery July 26 through September 28. An opening reception will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Friday, July 25 with a gallery talk by the artist at 6:30 p.m.

Having grown up in Cuba, Novoa is particularly sensitive to the propaganda language used by the socialist state.   His drawings derive from his personal experience but also transcend specific historical examples and have a more universal meaning.

“Methods of socialist propaganda caught my attention,” said Novoa. “That rigorous system of symbols, associated with a dogmatic language that gradually lost meaning, led me to create a system of abstract, pictorial signs. Converting my work into an instrument of social and political criticism, I aimed to make the convergences of strategies used by different systems of totalitarian power universally evident.”

To create his drawings, Novoa uses materials associated with architecture. In Vote Moore, 2004, he drew buildings in graphite directly on marble. Marble has a wealth of architectural associations from the ancient Greek and Roman temples to the neoclassical buildings of Enlightenment France and America. For Novoa, the classical ideals of a rational and just society are embodied in marble. As Europe explored and colonized the world, it spread its architectural forms and Neoclassicism found its way into Cuban architecture. Under communism, Cuba’s government argued that these buildings represented colonial power and allowed them to decay.   Over time, they became a new kind of symbol, one signaling exhausted and bankrupt ideals. Novoa’s drawings on marble ask us to become aware of the signifiers that surround us and the architectural landscape we inhabit.