September 6 through October 15, 2012
Opening reception: Thursday, September 6th, 5:30-7:00 p.m.
Artist’s Talk: Thursday, September 27th, 6:30 p.m.
Goodall Gallery | Spears Center for the Arts
The Columbia College Goodal Gallery kicks off the 2012-2013 gallery season with a solo exhibition by artist, Alejandro García-Lemos, entitled, Red Social: Portraits of Collaboration. The exhibit is in partnership with the Spanish program at Columbia College in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15, 2012). An opening reception for García-Lemos will be held on Thursday, September 6 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. along with an artist’s talk on Thursday, September 27th at 6:30. The exhibition, reception, and talk are located in the Goodall Gallery, and are free and open to the public. Works will be on display from September 6 through October 15, 2012.
Born in Colombia, South America, Alejandro García-Lemos has lived in several major metropolitan cities such as Bogotá, New York, Washington, and Miami. In those cities, he experienced mega urban culture that offered rich mines of creative resources. In 2002, García-Lemos moved from Miami to Columbia, South Carolina. It didn’t take long to realize Columbia was more foreign to him than any of the cities he had previously inhabited, noting that in comparison, “Columbia was incredibly small.”
Soon after moving to Columbia, García-Lemos discovered a quote by the artist Georgia O’Keeffe that aptly expresses his creative time in the city, “Hibernating in South Carolina is an experience that I would not advise anyone to miss.” The quote is from a personal letter written by O’Keeffe while she taught at Columbia College, a place where she, too, found time and inspiration to create new works during the fall and winter of 1915 to 1916.
García-Lemos notes the similarities in his and O’Keeffe’s journeys, “She and I, as migrants from the big city, both experienced the beauty and isolation of Columbia, understood its drawbacks, yet appreciated it for providing time to think and work.” And over a ten year period (2002-2012), he did just this, finding internal and external sources of inspiration to fuel his creativity in a place that he found challenging to his lifestyle and philosophies.
Drawing from several themes––migration, flux, relationships, and transformation––García-Lemos has cultivated a cherished community of individuals during the last ten years who have shaped and supported him along the way. The years of relationship-building inspired a new body of work that culminated with a series of community-based portraits. The painting, Artist’s Dream (After Stieglitz), is the piece that García-Lemos used as an inspirational point of departure for additional drawings. While working on the portrait of O’Keeffe, the concept and style for the show was established: collaborative, community-based mixed media portraits.
Each portrait symbolizes García-Lemos’s relationship to the person, exploring how we exist within ourselves and affect others. His intent was to tell the sitter’s story while understanding the relationship to his own development and within the larger community. The act of “sitting for a portrait is an unusual interaction,” but as repeat sittings occurred, a “somewhat forgotten pleasure in being together while creating a collaborative portrait” was revealed, says García-Lemos.
Alejandro García-Lemos received a B.A. in Graphic Design from Universidad Nacional de Colombia and a Masters in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from Florida International University. He holds strong ties to his culture and his homeland of Colombia, and frequently incorporates symbolism and political issues into his work. He has been living in the United States for almost 15 years, and currently resides in Columbia, South Carolina. His works have been exhibited in his homeland and in the southeastern United States in numerous solo and group exhibitions with works in private and public collections.
The Columbia College Goodall Galley is located inside the Spears Center for the Arts at 1301 Columbia College Drive in downtown Columbia off of North Main Street. Gallery Hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. For further information about exhibits please visit www.columbiasc.edu or call (803) 786-3899.