MIYAKO YOSHINAGA is pleased to present “Borderline Dysfunction,” a selection of works by contemporary Cuban artist José Luis Fariñas. This, his fourth solo exhibition at the gallery, will be on view from January 8 through February 14, 2015. The opening reception for the exhibition will be held Thursday, January 8, from 6 to 8 pm.
Based in Havana all his life, 42-year-old Fariñas has spent a great deal of his career exploring his themes of chaos, disorder, infinity, dysfunction, and transmutation. “Borderline Dysfunction,” consisting of two oil paintings and eleven watercolor drawings arranged chronologically from 1999 to 2012, traces the development of Fariñas’ singular vision, a universe in which an anguished reality is transformed in a mesmerizing array of surprisingly tender grotesqueries.
In his oeuvre, Fariñas repeatedly depicts a skull-faced figure with feathers or wings as well as an egg like motif. In his early oil painting “Deep Meditative State" (1999) Farinas portrays what appears to be a prototype of a half man/half insect creature in the possible act of awakening and stretching into a new day. In “The Beginning of the Emotions” (2007) the winged old man confronts the egg (the mystery/unknown), which, according to Fariñas, is a metaphor of the boulder and the winged man/human is Sisyphus, the mythical sufferer of unending frustration. Through his work Fariñas travels a never-ending cycle of emotional ups and downs. “Metamorphosis from the Meditation” (2010) is akin to an anatomical study of metamorphosis, demonstrating his belief that in this chaotic world, transmutation is the only constant.
In addition to an extraordinary vision, Fariñas’ watercolor and sumi ink drawings display a masterful technique of meticulous detail rendered with an extra fine brush. The overall effect is a sense of dreamy illusion, creating its own spiritual world. We can further examine Fariñas’ philosophical intention by reading the carefully named titles of the works.
Finally, Fariñas’ images add up to self-portrait, revealing his deeply personal view of the mysterious, unfathomable changing world around him. Yet instead of seeming troubling, Fariñas’ “Borderline Dysfunction” gives us a direct and a definite statement of acceptance of the the chaos and disorder of this world. Fariñas is not only a visual artist but also a kind of spiritual storyteller who eloquently expresses his philosophy through his works.
José Luis Fariñas was born in 1972 to Spanish-Cuban parents of Sephardic origin. A graduate of the San Alejandro Academia de Artes Plásticas, he also studied at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana. Fariñas has had more than 30 solo exhibitions and been included in 140 group shows both in Cuba and abroad. In the United States, museum exhibitions have included the Museo de las Américas, the Mizel Museum of Judaica, (both in Denver), the MDC Museum of Art + Design (Miami) and the Jewish Community Center of Pittsburgh. Recently, two art books illustrated by Fariñas for LIBER Ediciones, Cervantes, el soldado and Apocalypsis, received First National Prize for Book of High Bibliophilic Art (2006, 2010) and are included in the German Book Museum’s collection in Leipzig.