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Ricardo Cardenas' first solo exhibition in New York opens at De Buck Gallery
Installation view.

NEW YORK, NY.- De Buck Gallery announces Ricardo Cardenas’ first solo exhibition in New York, Abstractions of Nature, marking the artist’s representation by the gallery in New York. The exhibition will open on April 19th (6-8pm) with the artist present, and will remain on view through May 19th.

Ricardo Cardenas (b. 1966, Medellin) draws inspiration from nature and its myriad of ecosystems using the unique biodiversity of his homeland Colombia to inform his creative practice. Sophisticated steel and aluminum structures in bright yellows, whites, and blues overgrow the gallery space. The sculptures extend over floor and walls bringing to mind burgeoning mangroves, verdant wetlands, intricate birds nests, the ever-changing flow of clouds and intense rain showers. In Abstractions of Nature Cardenas continues to investigate the dynamic relationship between man and nature, science and art, whilst deepening his exploration of line and material.

Flows of movement, unique compositions of lines, and the remarkable similarities between engineering structures and natural shapes have been ongoing formal concerns for Cardenas since childhood. Having graduated in civil engineering prior to fully devoting himself to the arts over 10 years ago, Cardenas fuses his knowledge of materials and construction processes with the search for a deeper level of understanding of the laws that govern our natural surroundings. His practice reveals a process of thorough observation, constant drawing, careful selection of industrial materials, and meticulous construction. Accompanying the new sculptures on view will be a series of sketches and drawings. For Cardenas, it is the repetitive act of drawing his observations that allows the artist to internalize the complexity and ideal proportions of the eventual sculpture. The graphite drawings constitute an essential part of Cardenas’ practice, allowing a three-dimensional form to come into existence. The visual interplay between sculpture and drawing brings out the inherent flexibility of form in Cardenas’ oeuvre, transcending material boundaries.

Although Cardenas’ aluminum wetlands and metallic clouds make explicit reference to nature, they do not pretend to imitate. They are complex abstractions of nature, made by man, executed in mundane materials such as metal rods, wire, aluminum, and simple color fields. In the 18th century Naturalism froze nature into ultra realistic documentation and taxonomy. Soon after we witness a mass exodus from hyper-representation of nature to impressionism and eventually modernism. Ricardo Cardenas work similarly departs and abstracts natural form creating a new contemporary reality. This can be illustrated with Cardenas’ Yellow Rain (2018), which makes reference to Van Gogh’s famous Wheatfield with Crows (1890). Going beyond this reference, Cardenas’ sculptures prompt a dialogue about natural versus man-made order and the fascination of construction and destruction. In that sense, Cardenas’ work may evoke pleasure and curiosity at first, but it also invites contemplation and reflection on nature and its place within contemporary society; will they be competing for space or can they find a durable harmony? Planted in the concrete jungle of Manhattan, this body of work hopes to take the viewer on a voyage.

Ricardo Cardenas was born in 1966 in Medellin, Colombia and graduated in Civil Engineering and Fine Arts. Hence, Cardenas’ abstract sculptures reflect a deep knowledge of materials and engineering processes. His sculptures display a visual dynamic that invites the viewer to stop and investigate the elements that compose them. Cardenas’ work has been exhibited mainly in Latin America and is part of several important private and public collections such as the Cisneros Fontanals Foundation (CIFO), the Museum of Contemporary Art of Lima, and the Museum of Modern Art in Bogota. A recent highlight includes the Expedición Chucua immersive installation at the church museum of Santa Clara in Bogota. The artist currently lives and works in Medellin, Colombia.

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