Jose Bedia


                                                       Docent Researcher Sabra Feldstein

Biodata

          Date of birth January 13, 1959

          Place of birth Havana, Cuba

          Current residence Miami, Florida

          Education

School of Art of San Alefandro (1976) and the Superior Institute of Art, Havana (1981) Emigrated to Mexico in 1991, and to the United States in 1993

 

Major Shows/Galleries

Selected Individual Exhibitions

1989 - "Final del Centauro" - Castillo de la Real Fuerza, Havana, Cuba

1994 - "José Bedia: De Donde Vengo" - Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania

2004 - "Estremecimientos" - Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporaneo (MEIAC), Badajoz, Spain

September 18, 2011 - January 8, 2012 - "Transcultural Pilgrim: Three Decades of Work by José Bedia" - Fowler Museum, UCLA

Collective Exhibitions

In 1980 he conformed the exhibition "XIX Premi Internacional de Dibuix Joan Miró". Fundació Joan Miró, Centre d’Estudis d’Art Contemporani, Parc de Montjuic, Barcelona,Spain; "Los novísimos cubanos. Grupo Volumen I" was a significant exhibition at The Signs Gallery, New York. He was selected to participate in the Cubans exhibition in the 1st and 2nd Havana Biennial Bienal de La Habana, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. In 1990 he was in the XLIV Exposizione Internazionale d’Arte. Biennale di Venezia. Venice, Italy. In 1994, his work was exhibited at "InSite94: A Binational Exhibition of Installation and Site Specific Art" San Diego Train Station, San Diego, California. Most recently in 2001 his pieces were part of "Inside and Out. Contemporary Sculpture, Video and Installations". Bass Museum of Art, IV Bienal del Caribe y Centroamérica, Museo de Arte Moderno, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

 

Media : Painter

The earliest art expressed a spiritual communion with nature, whether capturing animal spirits for the hunt or condensing the mysteries of reproduction in a fertility icon. Cuban-born Miami-based artist José Bedia marries this shamanic impulse with the vocabulary of modern abstract painting in his striking exhibition at Latin American Masters. Applying expressive paint handling to iconic figures and animals (or hybrids of the two), he reactivates imagery drawn from Native American and African spiritual tradition.

 

Contextual information

José Bedia’s art is as fresh as wet graffiti and as ancient as cave paintings. The Cuban-born artist resolves the distance of millennia in spare line drawings rooted at once in an appreciation for comic art and an abiding belief in the shared characteristics of indigenous faiths. A priest of Palo Monte, a rural religion closely tied to nature, Bedia has studied with Lakota Indians, the Yoruba of West Africa and adherents of the pan-Caribbean Santería religion. From a personal cosmography born of his immersion in diverse cultures, Bedia’s drawings are populated by godlike animistic figures with extenuated limbs that reach out over great distances, perhaps alluding to the artist’s desire to bring diverse cultures into synchronic unison. Sentences written in elegant script often suggest didactic messages, as in one circular canvas in which a rabbit-eared figure growing from a mountain holds in its fist a wide-winged bird straining to reach the horizon. No puedo retenerte más is the enscribed legend: I can no longer hold you. It is a sentiment familiar to anyone who has tried in vain to restrain something that must be freed–a child, a lover, a secret–or conversely felt trapped by loving constraints. Though accessible on the surface, Bedia’s art inevitably withholds layers that remain ambiguous. Why are such intimate sentiments set against astrological renderings of the night sky? Why are offerings left at certain drawings and installations? Even for the uninitiated, Bedia is a great teacher, using his tremendous graphic skill to engage viewers in a personal spiritual voyage.

 

The earliest art expressed a spiritual communion with nature, whether capturing animal spirits for the hunt or condensing the mysteries of reproduction in a fertility icon. Cuban-born Miami-based artist José Bedia marries this shamanic impulse with the vocabulary of modern abstract painting in his striking exhibition at Latin American Masters. Applying expressive paint handling to iconic figures and animals (or hybrids of the two), he reactivates imagery drawn from Native American and African spiritual traditions.

In “Gente Venado (Deer People),” six ghostly figures with antlers emerge from a textured gray ground, their bodies little more than vertical black smudges. Pulsing yellow lines form a polygonal shape around them that seems to mark a territory, the boundaries of some ceremony, perhaps, but also suggests the reductive lines of modernist geometry.

 

Similarly, in “Seguido por la Tormenta (Followed by the Storm),” a mass of black gestural marks is also a surging storm cloud and a vaguely feline predator, bounding after a deer that would be at home on the walls of Lascaux. Trailing behind the cloud is a tiny, realistically rendered airplane.

 

 This juxtaposition places fleeting, ever-changing nature against our leaden, puny attempts to conquer it, but it also suggests a surprising seamlessness between spiritual and physical worlds. Not all of the works in the show achieve the same rich balance, but for the most part Bedia uses the energy of gestural painting to echo seemingly boundless forces beyond.

 

Extensive group of images

https://encrypted.google.com/search?q=jose+bedia&hl=en&biw=1527&bih=998&site=webhp&prmd=ivnso&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=g9liTveeBMriiAKM1bWlCg&sqi=2&ved=0CDgQsAQ

LA Times: Art Review:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2010/05/art-review-jose-bedia-at-latin-american-masters.html

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