"Roberto Juarez: Crossing Five Decades" at C. Parker Gallery

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"Roberto Juarez: Crossing Five Decades" at C. Parker Gallery
“Tablet” (2015), by Roberto Juarez, mixed media on linen.

GREENWICH, CONN.- The C. Parker Gallery in Greenwich, Connecticut presents the new exhibition “Roberto Juarez: Crossing Five Decades” (Feb. 28 – April 15), featuring works created by the New York artist between 1983 and 2023. “This is the first time an exhibition chronicles five distinct eras of artmaking by Roberto Juarez,” says Tiffany Benincasa, the Gallery’s owner and curator. “We are honored to present this group of exquisite paintings, illuminating his position in the canon of art history in the New York art world, for our tenth anniversary season.” The gallery is located at 409 Greenwich Avenue, near Manhattan (just a 40-minute train ride from Grand Central Station, where one of Juarez’s public commission murals majestically holds court in the public waiting area of the Station Manager’s Office).

Juarez’s artistic trajectory is the stuff of New York legends. He was one of the first Latinx artists of Puerto Rican and Mexican descent to break into the NYC art scene during the pivotal '80s era that changed the art world, alongside other young artists of color who broke through barriers during that era – and Juarez continues to have a prominent career today. “This selection of artworks represents the feeling of crossing through different eras of my work,” says Roberto Juarez. “For me, it’s important that my love of painting comes through. I want the joy in my work to always be essential. This new exhibition also points ahead, showing how change and growth are still where I’m at today,” adds Juarez.

Juarez frequently employs painterly floral motifs, often inspired by the traditions of Hispanic and non-Western painting. His mother was from Puerto Rico, and his father was from Mexico. He was born in 1952 in Chicago. Juarez has a BFA from San Francisco Art Institute (1975), and Graduate Studies at the University of California at Los Angeles (1978). Read his full bio at this link.

When Juarez was recently invited to present his work in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Time & Space Limited, the not-for-profit arts organization serving the Hudson River Valley Region, he expressed his vision for artmaking and how it continues to evolve — “The sanctuary I envision through my art is a place where unexpected things happen, where ancient stories intertwine with contemporary experiences, and where the audience can participate, almost dance, with the paintings,” says Juarez. “My intention is to invite viewers to connect with the rich cultural tapestry of human history and the boundless possibilities of creativity.”

(Pictured above: “Spouse” (1993), by Roberto Juarez, mixed media on canvas)
“What I’m painting is often tropical looking, and yet sometimes created in the dead of winter in my studio in Canaan, NY where we can have mountains of snow everyday. I think part of this is responding to memory, to my experience of something colorful. The severity of the winter experience in my studio makes me enjoy colorful imagery even more,” adds Juarez.

In 1981, the East Village underground arts icon Ellen Stewart offered Juarez an artist studio in an abandoned garage owned by the La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club. The space, on First Street between Bowery and Second Avenue, had no electricity and was offered to Juarez rent-free. Renowned costume designer Gabriel Berry lent Juarez an extension cord from her studio to his, to provide light and heating.

That same year, Juarez was showcased in the 1981 New York/New Wave group show curated by Diego Cortez, who united the downtown scene for this history-making exhibition. Writer Glenn O'Brien called the group show "A tidal wave of art, a whole new art world ready to replace the old one . . . about to reduce the entire art world to limp rubble, particularly the stuff that floats." Cortez selected 35 of Juarez’s works, on an entire wall across from a wall of works by Basquiat (some of these original 1981 works by Juarez from the New York/New Wave show have been selected for an exhibition during the Venice Biennale this year).

“Roberto Juarez is somebody I had long thought combined a sense of an engagement with the poetic, an engagement with the provocative, a use of color which brings to mind not only images but emotions, in a way that is very convincing – also allowing us to enter into a certain subconscious emotional territory,” said Edward J. Sullivan, Professor of Art History at NYU. Juarez and Sullivan are quoted throughout this story from the interview by Edward J. Sullivan at – robertojuarezstudio.com/roberto-juarez-interview-by-edward-sullivan.html). Sullivan curated Juarez’s solo museum exhibition that included the artist’s Pater series. Sullivan has worked for more than thirty years in the field of Latin American and Caribbean art, and has influenced many artists and curators.

The Pater works were produced over a number of years during which Juarez was dealing with the death of his father. Read more about the artist and this series at the review by Clayton Kirking, former Chief of Art Information Resources for the New York Public Library – nadnowjournal.org/reviews/roberto-juarez-inspiration-and-process.

(Pictured above: “Pico Landscape” (1984), by Roberto Juarez, paper)
Juarez’s accolades and milestones include: A Guggenheim Fellowship in Painting; the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award; the Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in Rome. One of his paintings was selected for the book jacket cover of the Whitney Biennale Catalogue in 1987. He was chosen for a public commission mural installation in Grand Central Station in 1997 (new.mta.info/agency/arts-design/collection/field-of-wild-flowers), and several art in public places commissions, including Miami International Airport.

Works by Juarez are in the collections of major museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (CA), the Brooklyn Museum, El Museo del Barrio (NY), Perez Art Museum Miami, and the Denver Art Museum, among others.

(Pictured above: “Pine Branches with Lichen Two Suns (Study)” (2023), by Roberto Juarez, mixed media on canvas)
Museums that have exhibited the work of Roberto Juarez include: Museum of Modern Art (NY); Whitney Museum of Art/Whitney Biennial (NY); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LA); Brooklyn Museum; Peggy Guggenheim Collection (Venice); MoMA PS1 (NY); the China National Academy of Painting; Stamford Museum (CT); El Museo del Barrio (NY); McNay Art Museum (TX); Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (CO); Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (KS); Portland Museum of Art (ME); Center for the Fine Arts Miami; Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art; Austin Museum (TX); and Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, among others.

(Pictured above: “Falo” (1999), by Roberto Juarez, mixed media on linen.)

About the Gallery
C. Parker Gallery is a full-service art gallery and consultancy celebrating its tenth year in Greenwich, Connecticut. Representing an extensive collection of works by traditional and contemporary artists, the Gallery is a recipient of the Best of Greenwich Award and Best of the Gold Coast Award. The gallery’s inventory features more than 1,800 works from over 70 artists representing original paintings, prints, sculpture, and collectibles.

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