MIAMI, FLA.- LnS Gallery
is presenting Tony Vazquez-Figueroa's solo exhibition Petropias, a culmination of three years of work by the multimedia artist. This immersive collection of paintings, photography, and sculptures enraptures the audience in the artists interpretation of the worldwide impact of the petroleum industry. Petropias is Vazquez-Figueroas second solo exhibition at LnS Gallery and is curated by Tami Katz-Freiman. This exhibit is on view November 19, 2021, through January 22, 2022.
Vazquez-Figueroa is an internationally trained, Miami-based artist, born and raised in Venezuela. His deeply personal investigation into how oil-rich countries create unique physical environments, like oil refineries, and peculiar socio-economic and cultural environments led to the formation of Petropias, a term coined by the artist.
As Katz-Freiman describes in the accompanying catalogue essay, Venezuela, as viewed through Vazquez-Figueroas critical eyes, is neither a utopia nor a dystopia, but rather a heterotopia (from the Greek hetero=different, and topos=place), a term employed by the French philosopher Michel Foucault
Foucault attends to the manner in which those excluded from the public sphere are defined within clearly circumscribed spaces that compromise, and sometimes even negate, their power and their very identity.
Vazquez-Figueroas adapted Petropias becomes the basis of the exhibition and plays on the petrostate, revolving around the idea of holes, refineries, and containers that are revealed structurally and metaphorically through methodologies that are innovative and challenging exemplifications of craftsmanship, artistry, and science.
I lived in a Petropia (Venezuela) and I learned to love it and understand it with its enormous defects and my enormous voids. I was thrown into a world, into a Petropia, and found my way around it, escaping some of the terrible ideas that were imposed upon me, Vazquez- Figueroa explains.
Tony Vazquez- Figueroa (*1970 Caracas, Venezuela) resides and works in Miami, Florida. He received his BFA in Film from Emerson College (Boston, MA) in 1992 and continued his art studies at the San Alejandro Academy (Havana, Cuba) and then at the New York Studio School, where he earned a scholarship to study at the institution. He then finished his formal training in 2002 at the Slade School of Painting at the University College London, under the tutelage of Jenny Saville.
Selected solo exhibitions include the focus exhibition Spectacular Modernity at Zona Maco, Mexico City, Mexico (2020), Drawing from the Underdeveloped/Line One, LnS Gallery, Miami, FL (2019), Black Surface: The Undoing Process, LnS Gallery, Miami, FL (2018), Crude Inventory, Galeria Rozas-Botran Zona 14, Guatemala (2017), Venezuela Turmoil at South Florida Art Center (Art Basel Week) Miami, FL (2004) and Retro/Perspective, Centro Cultural Capuy in Caracas, Venezuela (2003).
His work resides in the permanent collections of the Pérez Art Museum (Miami, FL), Museum of Latin American Art (Longbeach, CA), Klugler Kaplan Collection (Miami, FL), the Villanueva Collection (Venezuela), the Black Gold Oil Museum (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia), the Lowe Art Museum (Miami, FL), among others.
Tami Katz-Freiman (*1955, Israel) is an art historian, curator, and critic, based in Miami, Florida, where she works as an independent curator of contemporary art. From 2005-2010 she was the Chief Curator of the HMA (Haifa Museum of Art) in Israel. She started her curatorial practice in 1992 and over the years has curated numerous group and solo exhibitions in prominent museums in Israel and the US, where she lived and worked also between 1994 and 1999.
In addition to essays for catalogues and books published in conjunction with the exhibitions she has curated, Katz-Freiman has written numerous articles, essays, and reviews addressing various issues in contemporary art. In 2012 she curated two major exhibitions: Critical Mass: Contemporary Art from India for the new wing of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and UNNATURAL for the Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach.
In 2017 she curated Sun Stand Still by Gal Weinstein for the Israeli Pavilion in the 57th International Art Exhibition (2017), La Biennale di Venezia.