Not everything needs to be painted: José Manuel Mesías

10 June - 16 July 2023
José Manuel Mesías is a collector of the discarded. During walks through the streets of Havana he collects images, objects, memories; fragments of things that only find meaning in the peculiar universe that is his mind. His works are an assemblage of bits and pieces taken to build wholes. He revels in the accident and the spontaneous while time is the tool that allows him to complete each piece. Understanding the paintings of José Manuel Mesías undeniably involves understanding this essential part of him.
In his practice, Mesías looks to distance himself from concepts so as to not be defined by a single style. His resulting works demonstrate his undeniable skill for the trade of painting which denotes the constant exercise of painting itself. He knows well what he wants before approaching the canvas by using his mind’s eye to compose a work many times over before he puts brush to paint. It is with the process of time that he allows external forces to come into the work which is chronologically detailed on the back of every single piece. Each piece contains a register of the dates when he has confronted the work, communed with it, added detail, and allowed time to sit with the ideas that formed it.
Not everything needs be painted is a brief sample of the broad range that makes up the work of this young multidisciplinary Cuban artist. In this selection of work, we are presented with scenes that will undoubtedly transport us to Cuba, past and present. We are confronted with the absurdity of walking the streets of Havana, the historical narrative that weighs upon Cubans, and the uncertainty of empty spaces. In this exhibition we see a glimpse of José Manuel Mesías as well as this little but complex island that, by force of blows, reinvents itself every day.

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José Manuel Mesías (b. 1990, Havana, Cuba) graduated from the National Academy of Fine Arts "San Alejandro" in Havana in 2009. He has obtained residency scholarships in Japan, sponsored by the Akita Art Institute (2018); in Bilbao, Spain, as part of the Azkuna Zentroa - Artist x Artist Residency Program (2017); in Colombia, from the exchange project between the Instituto Superior de Arte and the Universidad de los Andes (2013), among others. He has had solo exhibitions at the 13th Havana Biennial, at Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales (2019); Art Dubai, as a result of the residency period in the United Arab Emirates (2019);Factoría Habana, Havana (2017); Mindy Solomon Gallery (2016, 2015); Centro Provincial de Artes Plásticas and Diseño Luz y Oficios, Havana (2012). He has also participated in group exhibitions at the National Museum of Fine Arts, collateral to the 13th Havana Biennial (2019); Galleria Continua, Les Moulins (2019); Spiral Garden, Tokyo, Japan and Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam (2018); La línea recta no es la más corta, Azkuna Zentroa, Bilbao, Spain (2018); 7th Salon of Contemporary Cuban Art, Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales (2017); Habana Gallery (2017); Galleria Continua at Colegio de Arquitectos (UNAICC) (2016); Cuban Video (MoCA), Cleveland, USA (2010); among others. José Manuel Mesías lives and works in Havana Cuba.