April 28-June 23, 2001

Santa Monica-Track 16 Gallery is pleased to announce an exciting new exhibition of paintings and works on paper curated by artist Manuel Ocampo and featuring work by Ocampo and three of Spain's most dynamic contemporary artists: Patricio Cabrera, Chema Cobo, and Curro Gonzalez. The exhibition runs from April 28-June 23, 2001, with an opening reception on Saturday, April 28th, from 6-8 p.m.

"If I were to be truthful," Manuel Ocampo writes in the introduction to Les Chiens Andalous, "the title of this show would be 'Three Andalusians and a Dog Eater.' But because I'm not interested in the truth, let's just pretend that I am also from Andalusia. After all, I did live there for three-and-a-half years." Of the many brilliant artists that the Philippine-born Ocampo met during his sojourn in Seville, the three he has included in this exhibition-Cabrera, Cobo, and Gonzalez-inspired his deepest admiration. In bringing them together, he does not intend to make any sweeping statements about the state of contemporary Spanish art. The exhibition is rather a labor of loveča gesture of respect. As he writes: "All three painters have established careers in their native country, so I am by no means trying to organize a show featuring a new trend in Spanish art or a survey of Andalusian artists. I have noticed, however, that only a very small number of Spanish artists are widely known in the U.S. and internationally. This exhibition is my attempt to broaden an appreciation of Spanish painters, with a focus on the province I love most."

Manuel Ocampo, who currently resides in northern California, is one of the most important artists to have emerged on the contemporary art scene in America in the last decade-both a rising star and a force to be reckoned with. Combining a masterful degree of formal skill with scathing social critique, his paintings are provocative and often disturbing portraits of our troubled age.

The large, dream-like paintings of Patricio Cabrera are rich labyrinths of symbol and narrative. Increasingly concerned with issues of ornament and decorative pattern, Cabrera's new works read like maps of human consciousness.

Thick with paradox and sarcasm, the politically astute work of Chema Cobo explores the darker reaches of humor, which Cobo calls "the inversion of the obvious," a force that "does not seek the spectators' complicity, but instead seeks to leave them with a sense of uprootedness." His newest body of work deals loosely with issues of power and colonialism surrounding the French Revolution.

Drawing from the traditions of Goya, Dali, and surrealist filmmaker Luis Bunuel, Curro Gonzalez makes figural paintings that are dense with allegory and historical allusion. His recent work explores his relationship to identity, his surroundings, his country and his culture.

"Les Chiens Andalous" combines four outstanding artists whose visions are fortified with historical and political awareness, yet tinged with what Ocampo calls "Spanish surrealism's twisted logic." Citing the Luis Bunuel film from which the exhibition takes its name, he points out: "What the movie is notorious for is the scene depicting what some consider the most violent act committed against the eye in film history. I hope the works included in this show attack the visual senses in a similarly positive and liberating way."

Accompanying the exhibition is a catalogue published by Smart Art Press titled Les Chiens Andalous, which features full color reproductions, biographies, and interviews with each of the four artists, conducted by Kevin Power.

Top Images (left to right):
Patricio Cabrera, The Hard Balance of the Frog, 2000, Ink on paper
Chema Cobo, If Nature Was the Ventriloquist of the Reason, 1999, Mixed media on paper
Curro Gonzalez, La caida (The Fall), 2000, Acrylic on canvas
Manuel Ocampo, The Failure to Express Is Its Expression, 2000, Oil on wood

Bottom Image:
The Artists at Track16 Gallery