Waltman Ortega Fine Art announces the opening of two solo shows: “Aberration” by Joe Segal and “Permutations“ Jorge Enrique in October.
Four years in the making, "Permutations" by Jorge Enrique opens at the Grey Room, and encompasses a new direction in the artist's work. The exhibition is comprised of floor sculptures, canvases, and mixed media pieces. These works are investigations into radicalized geometry; angles and permutations of linear space.
Anti-organic architectural considerations. Describing a body of work (four years in the making) from Miami-based artist Jorge Enrique is both a paradoxical and technically accurate exercise. Architecture is geared towards a slew of metaphoric tasks: a basic shelter, a functional work or play space, a haven for hermetic ritual, a temple for learning, or maybe a mere freestanding aesthetic experiment. The variances of architecture are, by their nature, reflections of the same kind of spontaneous, organic innovations often experienced by painters, dancers, musicians, and stage actors. In other words, architecture is seldom a cold, methodical series of calculations, measurements, numbers, permits, and ownership claims. But Enrique's work is neither an adherence to strict principles of sound logic, nor an embrace of a recent class of architectural bodies meant to mimic "natural" or "organic" elements.
Enrique's exposure to innovative architecture suggests he isn't a blood-drenched cynic or a battered victim of traditional structural values. He was educated at the Alfred C. Glassell Jr. School of Studio Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The museum, built in 1978 by S.I. Morris Associates (whose firm was responsible for such projects as The Houston Astrodome, One Shell Plaza, and the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture at the University of Houston), is a reflective being all on its own. Its shimmering, mirrored exterior tiles bend light and curve space to see everything that surrounds it. The building, effectively, is a responsive thing. Enrique's exposure to these occurrences, these reflections, appears to have had a long-lasting impact on his practice as a visual artist. He absorbed the diverse external and internal spaces of Houston and later, Miami, translating the experience of urban construction and deconstructions into his early work. Paintings directly incorporating photographs of manhole covers, asphalt patterns, wire fences, and metal gratings were slathered in lacquer; sometimes, these paintings would enter three-dimensional space as rectangular pillars or blocks. With these more recent works, Enrique engages in angular gestures with more muted surface qualities. The lacquer coatings are gone, dark umber and soot black tones dominate the compositional planes versus yellows and primary blues, and the lack of such layered materials as found in his works from 2000 to 2012 are, ironically, more tangible.
Enrique's sculpture embodies the greatest level of advancement in the newer group of works. There is no doubt that drawing remains an important variable to the equation, but the presence of the structures resembling bent lines, zigzagging through the air, is the most direct challenge to conventional architectures. They are anti-organic, in that they pointedly do not try to be buildings looking like flowers, leaves, or even human genitals (countless skyscrapers and monuments have some sort of subconscious phallic reference, while Zaha Hadid's plan for the Qatari football stadium seems to resemble generous labial flaps). They are anti-architectural, in a strict sense that they do not satisfy any of the criteria as a shelter, dwelling, or congregational space. What these works are, though, are investigations into radicalized geometry; angles and permutations of linear space become less concrete constructions in non-linear space. His more recent paintings accompanying these sculptures act as a physical counterbalance: heavy-handed strokes and repetitive, circular patterns communicate a restlessness, an impatience with conventional compositional avenues. What might appear as obsessive rotations across a collection of flat surfaces are more closely related to the deliberate, corporeal arrangements Enrique builds out of wood, steel, and the other industrial materials he had only referenced in works past.
Cy Twombly, in one of his final interviews with Sir Nicholas Serota, noted that, "architecture is also landscape...I would have liked to have been an architect but I'm not good at mathematics." Enrique cites Twombly's 1994 triptych Untitled (Say Goodbye to Catullus, to the Shores of Asia Minor) as his artistic watershed moment. The painting, itself, is a reference to Orpheus, the musical genius who traveled to and back from the reaches of the Underworld. On the physical surfaces of Twombly's epic works, linear space is acknowledged but flatly rejected as a vessel for expressive gesture. Enrique follows a similar path, most visible in his new sculpture. They are anti-organic architectural considerations, ideas formulated with an understanding of common spatial formalities. He objects to these as a conscious, intelligent, and engaging creative act.
Jorge Enrique was born in Havana in 1960. He emigrated to the United States in 1991, completing his BFA in Studio Art at the Alfred C. Glassell Jr. School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at venues in Paris, Houston, and Miami. Enrique's works have been shown at the Villa Datris Foundation in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue (France), L'Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez in Bordeaux, Locust Projects (Miami), the Lawndale Art Annex (Houston), and the Coca-Cola Corporation Headquarters in Atlanta. This exhibition marks Enrique's fifth solo showing with Waltman Ortega Fine Art in Miami. Enrique lives and works in Miami.
Text by: Shana Beth Mason, Brooklyn, NY 2014