What You Need to Know: Founded in 2014 by Valentina Puccioni, Arco Gallery in New York aims to bring the work of accomplished artists to an international audience of collectors independent of market or aesthetic trends. Arco Gallery has teamed up with Anderson Contemporary to present the group exhibition “In the Blood: Four Caribbean Artists,” which opens today at the latter’s location—also in New York—and will be on view through May 6, 2023. Featuring new and recent work by Alfredo Aya, Francks Deceus, Laura James, and Parris Jaru, “the common thread is a non-urban outlook expressed by the exuberance of a vivid color palette and imagery of magical realism where the line between fantasy and reality is blurred.” Ranging from figurative to abstract, the works in the show tap the creativity of artists, along with their ethnic and cultural backgrounds, to produce complex works that explore and reflect on the collective imagination of the Caribbean.
Why We Like It: The diversity of the works gathered within the exhibition is a testament to the rich and varied visual culture of the Caribbean, though there are some distinct characteristics—such as the bold and attention-grabbing use of color—that makes each artist’s work a complement to the other. Laura James’s body of work vacillates between the sacred and the secular, drawing inspiration from Ethiopian Christian art as well as her own lived experiences, resulting in a varied and dynamic body of work unified by her singular artistic style. Francks Deceus’s contemplative yet whimsical works from his “Spring Break” series reflect on the modern world, specifically urban life and struggle within the African American community. Afredo Aya and Parris Jaru each engage with abstraction; where Aya synthesizes Impressionism and something akin to geometric abstraction, Jaru’s compositions evoke mid-century Expressionism. In an accompanying exhibition catalogue, critic Filippo Vanni noted, “This is a fleeting glimpse into the work of four established artists, all with profound, rich, and searching perspectives. Detailing this complexity does not do it justice, it must be observed and felt. Their gaze gives essential insight into the stormy present.”
According to the Gallery: “The first thing that comes to mind when mentioning the word Caribbean is a world of vivid colors, glowing lights, and lush landscapes. Yet, the Caribbean is a complex melting pot of cultures, reflecting thousands of years of habitation by indigenous ethnicities, like the Arawak and Kalinago, followed by waves of immigration from Europe and all around the world, including Africa. ‘In The Blood: Four Caribbean Artists’ intends to explore how four artists of different Caribbean origins have taken their traditions, and the geographical characteristics defining their homeland, and adapted these influences to reflect in their paintings.”
See featured works from the exhibition below.