Matias Cuevas: Feet Me Love (Pies Yo Amor)
April 29 – June 11
Reception April 29 from 6 – 8pm
Born in Mendoza, Argentina, a site of natural beauty and international trade and tourism, Cuevas’s work reflects on the complexity of associating art with regionality in an increasingly interconnected, globalized economy, where personhood, locality, consumption, and the force of market exchange often intertwine indistinguishably. The title Feet Me Love (Pies Yo Amor), a playful translation of the multinational experiences that instigated the exhibition—the distant source materials, the pandemic-era creative process, and his long-term separation from friends and family in Argentina—but also an indication of the emotional outlook towards artmaking as a whole as an often inarticulate form of evocation.
To view the exhibition solely through a globalized lens would neglect the gestural and communal aspect of the work and the part it plays in the process as a primal, personal, and historicized practice. The material, a local multi-purpose cotton cloth called Kanga fabric, was sourced while on residency in Lamu, Kenya, a remote island off the East African coast, where the traditional trade systems of the port community intersect with tourism, international investment, and the daily life of its residents. Painted in footprints inspired by impressions of the port workers imprints on the streets of Lamu Island, Cuevas’s work explores the possibilities of painting and its different traditions focusing on gesture, abstraction, and materiality. Much of Cuevas’s work often directs an emotional focus on materials and their sources, the force of labor required to fabricate the items we cherish or fetishize, and the significance we place on them within the larger and sometimes muddled context of ownership, exchange, and emotional connectivity. Examination of these materials might require reflection on the time that we live with items when we acquire them, the things we discard and the objects that we love or somehow distinguish as practical, and others we designate as mementos or even pass down as heirlooms. In the context of exhibiting, the interventions made on such materials might necessitate a reflection on the possessions we consider more shared than owned. Perhaps the most resonating feature of Cuevas’s practice relies on the elevation of items that exist in a peculiar and often intangible domain of emotional value.
The places we occupy that most inform our sense of selfhood can feel remarkably small in scope within the insularity of our personal domestic life. Despite the geographic distance between the origins of Cuevas’s materials, their exhibition space, and their ultimately unknowable destination, the works in the exhibition emphasize the simple possessions that surround our everyday experience, and our inexplicable impulse to love them, instill them with personal significance, and often gift them back out into the world as traces of our elusive self-image.
Matías Cuevas received a BFA from Universidad Nacional de Cuyo in Mendoza, Argentina and an MFA from the School of Art Institute of Chicago. Recent exhibitions of his work have been held at Goucher College (Maryland), Mana Contemporary (New Jersey), Sperone Westwater (New York), El Museo del Barrio (New York), Lehmann Maupin Gallery (New York), Leyendecker Gallery (Spain), Alderman Exhibitions (Chicago), and The Green Gallery (Milwaukee). His work is part of numerous private and public collections, including the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Rosario and Museo de Arte Moderno de Mendoza. Matías Cuevas currently lives and works in New York City. This is his first exhibition with Hyacinth Gallery.