Corso de Palenzuela


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Artist Statement

VISIONS from a CUBAN OUTSIDER: Corso de Palenzuela comes to Beacon!
Sneak Preview March 10. Show runs through April 13th. Opening Reception March 12th, 5-7pm. Kiesendahl+Calhoun Contemporary Art Gallery, 192 Main Street, Beacon.

Outsider Art has been IN the news lately. The Museum of Folk Art recently sponsored a weeklong series of panel discussions and lectures that accompanied the Outsider Art Fair in NYC which received a rave review from NY Times art critic Roberta Smith. Following that great event, Kiesendahl+Calhoun is proud to present at their gallery a Cuban outsider artist who resides in Rhinebeck, New York.
Corso de Palenzuela, the vibrant outsider artist who left Cuba when he was seven years old, is a self-taught artist who has worked for over twenty years exploring his memories of his native land. Wood, cardboard, plywood and other found surfaces are transformed into colorful images of people set in places with a wide array of flora and fauna. These personal images float on the surface, and are enhanced with symbolism derived from Spanish-Hebraic mysticism and visions from his childhood experiences, depicting his family, people and the geography of places in Cuba that he recalls. 

"The Hut", il Bohio, is a large 32"x 34" primary color painting of oil on board, populated with a mother and father napping, two children floating on the scene, a platter of fish, palm trees, a dog, a goat, a snake and a snail - all elements that create a kind of dreamlike, floating home that is so appealing. Calling us to relax and let go of our complicated lives, "The Hut" evokes a kind of peace of mind that reminds us that the essentials for life are simple indeed. The artist is a visual storyteller whose inspiration comes from both natural and spiritual forces. The birds he paints are imbued with a kind of mystical power. His exotic Woodpeckers, Kingfishers, Hummingbird, his White Peacock and the extinct Cuban stork, Il Cayama, are larger than life and seem more like icons of some supernatural handiwork that beg for reverence. Corso often dwarfs humans alongside these birds - but beware! The human may be toting a gun and even aiming it at the bird so that one wonders what might become of this bird after the artist has captured this moment in time and space. Corso's work challenges us to take another look, to rethink and see all creatures of the natural world as he sees them in their most revered form, as a revelation, created by a God that seems to always be behind the scene.