Phoenix Art Space will be shutting down in 2014 after 8 years of operation.
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Cuban painter Alfredo MANZO Cedeño
Mar 21st to Apr 13th
Please join us for the opening reception for Cuban painter Alfredo MANZO Cedeño on Friday March 21st from 6-9 PM.
There will be a second reception on First Friday, April 4th. The show will hang through April 13.
Information: Kimber Lanning 602 312 4203.
My development did not follow the conventional trajectory. I made art as a child, drawing on my own. My closest friend, Pedro Alvarez, one of the most talented Cuban artists of our generation, inspired and influenced me from childhood until today. In school, I learned to paint and other media, about art history and contemporary art from books that we shared, all of us thirsty to explore beyond the island.
My favorites among the artists I discovered were Komar and Melamid, Mark Innerst, and especially Andy Warhol. All use pre-existing imagery---history, art history, and icons of commerce--- to make social and political comments. Warhol's style had been used by printmakers in Cuba to convey ideals of the Revolution from the beginning. The irony, to me, was that this artist who flagrantly applauds the market was the model for glorification of socialism. I saw that his persuasive, engaging style could be applied to sell any values. I set out to work on the seam where two ideologies came together, in the same style, and to allow meanings to interact.
Every artist in Cuba has codes to express content. Mine were the style of Warhol and baseball. In Cuba, baseball is an obsession. The game forms an apt metaphor, a miniature universe where players compete yet remain compadres committed to the game. My players are Cuban or American, like the countries themselves, rivals fascinated by one another.
Another important influence was the painter Antonia Eiriz, who began a communal art project in the popular neighborhood of San Miguel de Padrón, teaching art of papier maché to children, housewives, anyone . By the mid-80s I had developed both a fine art body of work in painting and print-making that I showed in Cuban and international museums and another in papier maché shown in museums of artesania. It is uncommon for an artist in Cuba to show in both these contexts. More unusual, I made my living selling figures in the feria in the plaza in Havana.
Through Alvarez and Jose Toirac, I met curators. In 2001, I came to Arizona State University Art Museum for a residency and exhibition. When my family and I decided to leave Cuba, we came to Phoenix where my work is known.
Since arriving in June 2007, I have shown at Modified Arts, in downtown Phoenix (I will have a solo exhibition there in April), at Latin American Art Gallery, and am making prints with Armstrong-Prior and Segura Publishing.
Coming to the US, with access to vast informational resources, has changed my work. I am now expanding to new images, including Chinese propaganda and Western and detective pulp novels, exploring competition and attraction in painting and sculpture.