GLADYS TRIANA'S TWO SIMULTANEOUS EXHIBITIONS
The Fairfield University Art Museum and the Art Museum at the University of Saint Joseph announce the closing of the monographic exhibition Gladys Triana: A Path to Enlightenment, 1971-2021, which displays the work of Gladys Triana (b. Cuba, 1937) at these two venues simultaneously. This exhibition, which opened on September 23, 2022, marked the first collaboration between both exhibitions to provide a two-venue survey of an artist’s work.
The Fairfield´s exhibition Beyond Exile examined Triana´s early years in New York: her experience of living in exile from her native Cuba and her feelings of isolation, but also included a selection of recent abstract photographs and videos marked by her philosophical inquiries in a path lo enlightenment. The West Hartford´s From the Female to the Infinite contained the artist's transition from a focus on the ontology of women to abstract works of spiritual transcendence. Together, both exhibitions constituted a journey through an oeuvre marked by the biographical and historical, and articulated to the ultimate experience of inner freedom. Both parts of the exhibition at the two venues were funded with the support of Benjamin Ortiz and Victor Torchia, Jr.
Carey Weber, Fairfield University Art Museum Executive Director, said, "having two venues for this exhibition allowed us to present close to 100 works created by Triana between 1971 and 2021. This was an amazing opportunity to place Triana’s artworks in dialogue with one another, and to offer overdue critical attention to her artistic practice in all of the many media in which she has worked in the course of her long and distinguished career.”
“It is axiomatic in the museum world that successful institutional partnerships multiply the
benefits of collaboration –affirms Ann H. Sievers, director of the Art Museum, University of Saint Joseph– amplifying each partner’s service to the public. We believe that the exhibition, shared between academic museums – each with its own regional audience –has demonstrated the value in expanding the examination of an important artist’s work through two thematically organized venues. Thanks to the sensitive conceptualization and installation design of each show by exhibition curators Adriana Herrera and Willy Castellanos, together the two venues provided a thoughtful and stunning survey of Triana’s development over fifty years.”
Gladys Triana lives in New York. For many decades her multidisciplinary work contained forms of resistance against the rules of authoritarianism and the oppression of hegemonies. Her immersive installations, sculptures, drawings, and paintings reflect two axes around which her life revolved and her work was nourished: the condition of having lived in exile from her native island since 1969, and her persistent exploration of the ontology of women. Over the last fifteen years, Triana has used her camera in video and still photography, to devise, in the microcosm of her own home, a visual poetic saga in search of a language to enunciate inner freedom and to construct a vision of the ongoing evolution of the self and of our species.
According to the curators: “Triana´s art expresses, with inexhaustible enthusiasm, her wonder at the form and mystery of small things, and has given her the courage to face the paradoxes of human existence and the darker side of history. In her case, the condition of her exile from her homeland of Cuba was more than merely losing the island of her origin forever. It was an actual expulsion from a promised utopia and a fall, experienced by the body confined in a space of hegemonic and dystopian power –the inner exile. After leaving Cuba Triana sought a language to reconstruct her home in its absence: an art created from a conjunction between inner strength and resistance to any power that forces one to bite one’s tongue.” The early paintings in the exhibition reflect this struggle and this artistic victory, and the last decades of his photographic and video-art creation the discovery of a very personal language but connected to the archetypal that contains keys of transformation and inner liberation.
Gladys Triana: The Path to Enlightenment, simultaneously on view at Fairfield University and University of Saint Joseph, deploys the light trace on earth of this artist who anticipates the words she will say to the Creator at the moment of her departure: “Thank you, because you have made me live. And keep the mystery.”
Gladys Triana has received two Cintas Fellowships in Art, two Pollock-Krasner Foundation Fellowships in 2015-16 and 2018-19, the Joan Mitchell Foundation CALL Fellowship, and was the 2016 winner of the Cuban Cultural Center of New York's Amelia Pelaez Award. Triana's work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad, including at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, El Museo del Barrio, and Instituto Cervantes, all in New York, USA; L'espace de Nesle, Paris, France; the Museo de Arte Moderno, Santo Domingo; the Museo de Bellas Artes, Santiago, Chile; the Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina; the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Aguascalientes, Mexico; El Museo Francisco Goitia, Zacatecas, Mexico, the Housatonic Museum of Art; NSU Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale; the Frost Art Museum, Miami, and ASU Art Museum, Arizona.