FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 27, 2020
MEDIA CONTACT: Brian Passey | BrianP@ScottsdaleArts.org | 480-874-4626
Take an Abstract Journey with Dambrova and Fernandez
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — “Abstract Journeys of Mutation,” a new exhibition curated by Scottsdale Public Art, will open Monday, April 6, at the Civic Center Public Gallery, 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale.
Featuring layered, brightly colored abstract paintings by two Phoenix artists, Bill Dambrova and Fausto Fernandez, who first met 18 years ago while working simultaneously at local museums. Shortly thereafter, the artists found themselves in neighboring studios at The Lodge on Grand Avenue in Phoenix.
Wendy Raisanen, curator of collections and exhibitions for Scottsdale Public Art, decided to pair the two artists in an exhibition after meeting with them separately within the same week and discovering their shared history.
“I felt their paintings could vibe with each other in the gallery setting,” Raisanen said. “The intense color, movement and juxtapositions of image to non-image is a real visual ride.”
The curator said she admires how both artists have a sense of fearlessness in their image making. It is a challenge, she said, to create abstract paintings because any moment along the journey could result in greatness or devastating failure.
After their initial meeting, varying circumstances took both artists to California for a time, but Dambrova and Fernandez eventually found their way back to Phoenix to continue their artistic explorations.
“My works are experiments that include everyday objects — commercially manufactured items such as zip ties, tools and diagrammatic sources,” Fernandez said. “Like many artists of my generation, I borrow freely from the art of the past. Pop artists consistently look for mundane objects and abandon their conventional use to present them in a different way.”
In college, Fernandez studied graphic design along with painting. As a result, his skills as a designer bare a strong imprint on his paintings and collages. Strong lines and geometric shapes anchor the free-floating elements, which he weaves together.
Both artists typically make large paintings. Because of the size limitations of the Civic Center Public Gallery, Dambrova said he began to experiment with smaller paintings, incorporating different techniques and materials, including pumice, silicone and even kitty litter.
“I decided to make more abstracted works that really have no narrative,” Dambrova said. “Since the pieces were smaller and I had less time invested in them, I could be more daring and allow for riskier moves that could ultimately fail and ruin the painting. If a painting went south, I would just toss it and move on rather than force it into submission.”
Because of this sense of experimentation by both artists, Dambrova estimates that about 80% of the pieces in the exhibition were created specifically for the show. As they have tried new techniques for this exhibition, they have been able to learn from each other’s experiments.
Even though their paintings are quite different, Fernandez and Dambrova have a similar methodology to their process. And they both have an intensely driven problem-solving approach, where they thrive on reacting to chaos with ingenuity and humor.
Dambrova has a bachelor of arts in studio art from Arizona State University and Fernandez has a bachelor of fine arts in graphic design and a bachelor of fine arts in painting from University of Texas in El Paso. In addition to painting, both artists have also worked in public art, contributing terrazzo flooring designs to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
“Abstract Journeys of Mutation” will remain on view at the Civic Center Public Gallery, inside Scottsdale Civic Center Library, through June 30. There will be an opening reception with the artists and light refreshments from 6:30–8 p.m. Friday, April 10, at the gallery. For more information about the exhibition, visit ScottsdalePublicArt.org/exhibition/abstract-journeys-of-mutation.
Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation is also hosting free events associated with “Abstract Journeys of Mutation” and the “American Institute of Architects – Arizona Design Awards” exhibition currently on view at the Appaloosa Public Gallery in north Scottsdale at the Appaloosa Library, 7377 E. Silverstone Drive, Scottsdale.
At 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, at Appaloosa Library, there will be an all-ages talk about Frank Lloyd Wright’s philosophies on sustainability and design and how they are tied to the modern green building movement. And on Saturday, May 23, from 1–3 p.m., families can work together to create a collaborative painting based on the works of Dambrova and Fernandez during an all-ages workshop at the Civic Center Library. For more information, visit ScottsdalePublicArt.org/events.
Through its dynamic partnership with the city of Scottsdale, the nonprofit Scottsdale Arts (formerly known as Scottsdale Cultural Council) creates diverse, inspired arts experiences and educational and outreach opportunities for the community, while fostering active engagement of individuals, businesses, education and government with the arts. Since its founding in 1987, Scottsdale Arts has grown into a regionally and nationally significant, multi-disciplinary arts organization offering an exceptional variety of programs through four acclaimed branches — Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), Scottsdale Public Art and Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation — serving more than 600,000 participants annually. In conjunction with the city of Scottsdale, we also host more than 200,000 people annually on our campus through a robust rentals program.
SCOTTSDALE PUBLIC ART
The mission of Scottsdale Public Art is to make Scottsdale one of the most desirable communities in the country in which to live, work and visit by incorporating art and design projects throughout. In 1985, the city of Scottsdale established Scottsdale Public Art with the goal to enhance the quality of life for its residents and visitors. Since then more than 100 permanent and temporary public artworks have been commissioned throughout the community. Scottsdale’s program and projects have won local, regional and national awards.
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