Image above: Doug Beube

Starting in Fall 2015, four U.S. artists were paired with four Cuban artists to begin a unique intercultural dialogue.

Because none of the U.S. artists speak Spanish nor do any of the Cuban artists speak English, the pairs need to find another way to communicate. Each artist gives their partner one of their pieces. The pairs begin learn about each other from these pieces and by how they respond to and transform each other’s work over the course of 12-18 months. There are no rules in how they can transform the pieces, just as there are no rules to where a good conversation can go. 

The curator swaps the artworks between the artists approximately every 3-4 months, so that each of the pieces is worked on four times over the course of the project.

SEE THE UNFOLDING VISUAL CONVERSATIONS BELOW.

DOWNLOAD THE CATALOGUE HERE.

Doug Beube and Lizandra Rodríguez share a love of materials.

Doug works with found books, maps, and other objects including his own photographs, cutting, sewing, folding them into new forms that convey savvy commentary on the state of our contemporary world - economically, politically, socially, environmentally.

1st version: Beube sews sections on maps on to zippers so that they can be unzipped and rearranged

2nd version: Rodríguez adds sections of cut paper architectural images to the original maps

 

Lizandra carves imaged architectural settings from slabs of wax, proposing new worlds that are backdrops to daily dramas. Her beautifully rendered paintings use coffee as the medium, a choice that speaks both to Cuba's economic history as well current limitations in accessing art materials. Together, they create new worlds based on each other's reactions to their artistic choices.

1st version: Rodríguez creates two absurdist architectural renderings using coffee on paper

2nd version: Beube additions to Rodríguez coffee painting

3rd version: Rodríguez cuts through areas, adds blue background

Laurel Farrin and Aylén Russinyol are painters of the beautifully absurd.

Although Laurel is an abstract painter and Aylén paints expressive architectural landscapes, they come together to create new ways of merging their work. They respond formally and conceptually to each other's changes, completely transforming the original pieces. 

1st version: Farrin gave "Bodies at Rest," a felt diptych to Aylén (felt, acrylic, 9"x24", 2012)

 

Version 2: Russinyol cut the felt piece and mounted them to canvas, adding photographic collage elements, oil paint, and cement

Version 3: Farrin further deconstructed the pieces, mounting them onto a camouflage scroll with a large, grey central area painted to mimic creases, along with other additions including the text, which is a response to Russinyol's photo collage additions of the King Dome demolition. 

Version 1: Part of a series of a horizontal collages mounted on canvas, Russinyol donated the above piece to Farrin (photo, cement, paint on canvas).

Version 2: Farrin turns the piece vertically and adds a square piece with a house-like shape incised and painted into the plaster.

For Christopher K. Ho and Rigoberto Díaz Martínez, the idea of an exchange is a conceptual starting point for exploration.

From the beginning, the pair seemed to share similar lines of questioning: What does it mean to exchange something with someone you don't know? What is the exchange going to be built upon? How do we build a relationship through and based on this exchange? Their responses are revealed in a conversation that is unfolding in a non-linear way, much like dialogues happen when two strangers meet for the first time.  

Replica of a traditional Shaker music stand Ho altered, given to Díaz (wood, paint, metal)

 

As an invitation to share information, Ho responded with a memory stick containing a set of empty folders based on the numbers found on the tubes in the archive. 

 Díaz chose a photograph for Ho from his "Database" series of an abandoned archive of unrealized architectural plans (digital print, 35.5" x 24", 2011-12)

Díaz chose a photograph for Ho from his "Database" series of an abandoned archive of unrealized architectural plans (digital print, 35.5" x 24", 2011-12)

As the exchange continued, Díaz shared a collage he had created based on photographs of the table on which the peace treaty between the U.S. and Cuba was signed in 1903. 

Ho transformed the collage into a model of the iconic Hotel Nacional de Cuba. 

Travis LeRoy Southworth and Lisbet Roldán make the invisible seen.

Travis LeRoy Southworth extends his work as a photo-retoucher to his own art practice to explore topics around the construction of beauty, commerce, and the very ideas of work. Lisbet Roldán created psychological portraits through her drawings, photographs, and prints. They work together on pieces that merge their shared interests to create entirely new explorations.

Version 1: For this project, Southworth donated "My JPG looks better," a digital print created from the colors he adds to photographs of models in his day job (12" x 16.5", 2015)

Version 1: Roldán's contribution is a ghostly image of a child. Printed on paper without ink, the image emerges as embossed marks created by the inkless cartridge

Version 2: Roldán responded with an image that shows faces of young and older women merged together. The drawing is intended to be layered digitally on Southworth's original piece.

Version 2: Southworth adds delicate digital washes of color to the back of the image.

Version 3: Southworth merges the images and adds digital paint strokes