March 23 - April 20, 2017
Fredric Snitzer Gallery is proud to present Miami Flow, a new series of paintings by Tomas Esson. Accompanying his new body of work are select paintings and a group of drawings pulled from the artist’s archives. Tomás Esson is one of the most significant artists to have emerged in Cuba during the 1980s amongst artists such as Jose Bedia, Ruben Torres Llorca and Glexis Novoa.
Tomas Esson was among the most celebrated handful of young Cuban artists in exile from what was called the “Generation of the '80s”, artists who grew up in Cuba after the 1959 revolution. The younger generation was given artistic encouragement, for Esson it meant more artistic freedom where he attended both the Academia de Artes Plasticas San Alejandro and the Instituto Superior de Arte. Artists like Glexis Novoa and Tomas Esson were developing artwork that included social commentary, what they considered to be constructive revolutionary criticism. By the late 1980s he had gone much too far and the government all but invited him to defect. Beast-human hybrids and sheer monstrosities, often in distorted poses, populated his paintings, drawings, and sculptures.
Even today phallic imagery, a bizarre sexuality and a high shock quotient remain. Miami Flow explores the artist’s visual language and accentuates the technical aspects of his application using the imagery of the TALIS which emerged from a series of work from the ‘90s compressing the female and male attributes into one entity: the vagina, the breasts, the mouth, the anus and the penis. The coupling between the various TALIS continues being the artist’s creative instrument, provoking constant changes in the artwork. In his latest body of work, Esson transforms ordinary objects into pictorial landscapes. Botanical depictions composed of leaves and flowers, such as the lace leaf, are transformed into secreting phallic symbols and orifices; Motifs the artist has used continuously to apply his own sexual philosophy to the work.
Tomas Esson is represented in major collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Ludwig Forum für International Kunst, Pérez Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Miami, and Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale.