First Friday, June 5, 2015, Carver Hill Gallery will open the show Augusto Bordelois: “Mis Suenos, Mis Amores, Mis Paises” (My Dreams, My Loves, My Countries). The opening reception with the artist will be from 5 – 8 pm. The following day, Saturday, June 06, 2015, the gallery will host an artist’s talk with Augusto from 1 – 2 PM.
Augusto C. Bordelois was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1969. He graduated from the University of Havana with a major in English Language and Literature, and also studied sculpture, ceramics, costume design for theater and cinema, classical drawing and painting. He is a published poet and author of children’s books, as well as a prolific and dedicated painter.
Augusto’s paintings depict subjects as complicated as emigration, insecurity and fear, love of a spouse and a child, day to day challenges we face socially, and his curious fascination with certain imagery and symbolism that he has no explanation for. Augusto admits to being obsessed with consumerism, freedom of expression, minority status, racism, politics, and political correctness. He frequently refers to fairy tales, which he locks in his memory like a broken record, and paints them as a part of his way of processing the story. Augusto is thoughtful; and his work is provocative and soulful.
He works on several series of works at once. His series on emigration is particularly powerful. We see a family who has left their home in Cuba to come to the United States. They are about to enter a clash of cultures, but they do whatever is necessary to take care of themselves and their families. The man in his paintings is frequently clutching a small bag. Emigrants were not allowed to leave with much, and the contents of this bag were of major importance to the family. Pictures, letters, and items with deep sentimental value were chosen over more practical things that could be replaced. The women are dressed more formally, a cultural norm that didn’t always seem appropriate here. The jobs they took were far below their level of education in Cuba, and Augusto often portrays a beautiful woman in overalls going off to work in the factories to make ends meet.
The artist was invited to come to the states in 1999 for a series of exhibitions and lectures at the University of California, the University of Tennessee and Cleveland State University. During the tour, he met the woman who is now his wife and the mother of his daughter. They decided to settle in Cleveland. Augusto is a teaching artist at the Center for Arts-inspired Learning (previously known as Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio), The Art House and the Ohio Arts Council . He sits on multiple boards and has been a guest speaker at numerous universities and institutions.
When asked how his work has changed since leaving Cuba and moving to the states, Augusto replies, “My themes may be more socially relevant, and there’s more symbolism. Life has changed, and themes may change. Some themes recur, but you can see the evolution of my work. This is hard – it’s self-reflective.
Cuba has recognized Augusto’s work nationally in many exhibitions. He has participated in more than 120 US national and international group shows and 27 solo exhibitions. His works are in private collections worldwide and the permanent collections of many colleges and Universities. He has assisted in designs of public spaces, coordinated community art programs and created public art pieces across Ohio.
Carver Hill Gallery is located at 338 Main Street, Rockland, Maine 04841 (207)594-7745. Visit http://www.carverhillgallery.com for more information.