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GUSTAVO ACOSTA | Empire of Dreams

May 7 - June 18, 2005

Latin American Masters gallery presents the first West Coast exhibition of Cuban artist, Gustavo Acosta. Born in 1958, Acosta is one of the most original and enduring artists to emerge from Cuba in the past three decades. Unlike European and American Modernists, Acosta has sought to diversify and expand, rather than to discard the presence of history in his imagery. His paintings are at once philosophical critiques of history's failures, enigmatic dreamscapes, and objects of painterly allure.

In an Acosta painting, what at first glance may look like a nostalgic urban vista, on closer examination reveals fortress walls and catacomb interiors. As impressive as the external grandeur of his architectural forms may appear, his cities are uninhabitable, empty and desolate. Acosta's empty vistas suggest, among their many associations, the false promises of history, that all revolutions and empires are doomed to failure, leaving for posterity nothing more than their grand architectural facades.

Acosta paintings have the uncanny power to evoke the psychology of exile. We have all had the experience of returning to a significant place from our past, only to discover that even if the place appears outwardly the same, it remains illusory, little more than a backdrop to our memories of another time. This quality of temporal displacement, of past and present coexisting, is central to Acosta's art, and is perhaps his greatest achievement.

Despite Acosta's fascination with the power of architecture, his perspective remains fundamentally detached, watching the passing parade of the temporal world. His status as an outsider is further accentuated by his willingness to combine historically disassociated areas of artistic expression: three-dimensional space, theatre, and Modernism's emphasis of the two dimensional surface. Acosta sees the notion of aesthetic purity as just another form of imprisonment. He pursues his artistic vision with supreme indifference to fashion. This new body of paintings, with their majestic, cloud-laden skies, reflect Acosta's conviction that art is a sublime realm, an essential antidote to the intellectual fervor of the moment and the bankrupt ideologies of the past.

Gustavo Acosta has exhibited in important public institutions worldwide, including: Museo Nacional, Havana, Cuba; São Paulo Biennial, São Paulo, Brazil; Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas, Venezuela; Palazzo Mediceo, Seravezza, Italy; and the Lowe Art Museum, Miami.


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