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Artformz Presents Fragmentary Memories, Works by Anja Marais & Guillermo Portieles
Anja Marais "Thoughts are like cauliflower" Paper and rope, 5 x 5 x 10 feet.

MIAMI, FL.- Artformz presents the two-person show featuring the most recent work of artists Anja Marais and Guillermo Portieles. The two artists offer each their own artistic expression of the power and impact of memory on the formation of identity and creative production.

Guillermo Portieles grew up studying art in Cuba from the I.S.A Institute of Superior Fine Arts to the San Alejandro School of Fine Arts in Havana. He continued his intellectual pursuits exhibiting his work and as a professor at various institutions in Cuba and the Dominican Republic. In the early 90’s he immigrated to the US and began winning awards and showing nationally in galleries and museums from Tampa, to Colorado Springs, Atlanta, Coral Gables, Orlando, and Miami.

Portieles’ works are predominantly 2-dimensional, however in this show we will see a unique and compelling sculptural object accompanying his paintings in this exhibit. The figurative and symbolic works are distant yet familiar at the same time, powerfully conjuring up his recollections of youth, homeland, and way of life in a Cuba, ever-present in his thoughts.

In his own words he sums up the influence of memory: “Art heals the spirit by virtue of the creative process. The act of creation engages the memories embedded in our cells. The virtue resurrects past experience, lived and unlived, that has forged our identity as human beings.”

Anja Maris’ work examines the fragility of life and identity. In the gallery her installation work addresses the same theme yet pushes one’s imagination to the edge of possibilities. She is from South Africa where she grew up and received her degree. After graduating from the University of South Africa, Marais immigrated to the United States where her work has been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions nationally, and held residencies like Mino Art in Japan. She has also been a recipient of the Florida Individual Artist Grant 2010 and has been in publications like the Florida International Magazine, Art in America and Artnews.

Her piece in the main space is explained as a hypothesis of ‘Cellular Memory’ (also the title of the work). Cellular memory is the speculative notion that human body cells contain clues to our personalities, tastes, and histories, independently of either genetic codes or brain cells. Each cell in your body contains its own sentient, thinking, and feeling passed down from previous generations, that in an animal would come through as instinct. If your mind is not just in the brain, but also exists throughout the body then what if your father and his father were ‘evil’ men? Will your cells encoding include the sins of your fathers, will your body’s memory be inherently filled with these genetic conflicts?

Marais goes on to explain: “…memory starts with perception. If you want to encode it you must first pay attention. But we cannot pay attention and remember every detail most of what you encounter every day is simply filtered out. Images flicker into our brains like a computer screen that can change and adjust every time your eyes move, which is several times a second. What do we really see, what do we really remember and what does our bodies remember for us out of this fragmented pool of images and codes?

I have always been interested in the cyclical and linear elements of life and touched on themes of cycles of life and death. This is also part of my growing interest in the current status of our environment that is being intruded and diminished by us. At the same time we are also provided with a contradiction that “nature” at the fringes can kill you, and this has always been an element of the romantic and the spiritual. I find that contradictions provide us with the real truth. I am interested in creating biosphere content that creates a fragile balance between hermetic philosophy and a mythological narrative. Just like the animistic elements of the world’s ancient mythologies of mysterious deities and gods that took on the form of fauna and flora, I attempt to do the same with my paper sculptures. By using haunting animistic images from folklore I rely on invoking the viewer’s ancient desire to reunite with an estranged nature.

Artformz | Anja Marais | Guillermo Portieles | Fragmentary Memories |

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