By Marcus Andrew, summer marketing intern
I recently met up with several celebrated artists: Carlos Sandoval de Leon (left), Rashawn Griffin, Jorge Pantoja and William Cordova. They came to our museum and casually conversed with us about the inspiration for their art among other things. I took the time to examine Cordova’s work that is on display as part of the “New at the Nasher” show and found it unlike any I have seen before. This man’s art is a genre in its own right. He used magazine cutouts, pages from literary works, paint, and delicate lines to construct stories or one ongoing story if that’s how you choose to interpret the twelve different pieces.
Last Friday night, I went to their “Casa de Carton” exhibition at Branch Gallery in downtown Durham where their work along with work by several other artists is on view. Branch is a petite, white-walled gallery that gives off the feel of chic modernity as well as simplicity; it was definitely a relaxed environment.
One of the first works of art that caught my attention was Derrick Adams’s “Everything Real and Imagined Occupying the Same Space.” The collage of unicorns, butterflies, televisions, and crosses set up somewhat of a metaphor of humans’ difficulty distinguishing the actual from phantasmal. The mystical quality and energy of the piece was explicitly clear. In sum, I was definitely intrigued by the artists’ work; from the eerie quality of Jorge Pantoja’s “Astra—Neva—Sputn” to the rich symbolism in Rashawn Griffin’s “Untitled (pastoral)” and Cordova’s “Young Lords.” And to top it off, I got to enjoy the profound commentary of the artists in our one-on-one conversations. How many people actually get to talk to the artists while sitting in front of their work? So needless to say, it was a great experience. I feel more cultured already.