Beatriz González: A Retrospective at Pérez Art Museum Miami

by Drew Penner

Beatriz González is a Latin American artistic remixer who carved out a career through the pop art emergence of the 20th century by re-working pervasive global imagery for her South American context. Catholic officials, rough landscapes, figures of military power, colonial dignitaries represent the foundation of an expressive approach to art, featured as part of a new retrospective at Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM).

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The show, on view from April 18 - Sept. 1, 2019, is González’s first career retrospective in the United States.

González was born in Bucaramanga, Colombia and was raised during La Violencia, a 10-year civil war with a ginormous body count (2,900 soldiers, 1,800 police, 3,000 conservative paramilitaries, 15,000 rebels, 170,000 civilians). She received an architecture degree from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in 1958 and an MFA from the Universidad de los Andes in 1962.

In her work you can’t help but notice an affection for modern and post-modern ideas, but an even heavier reverence of the foundations of South American society.

A focus on the local is something she touched on in a recent interview with Tate in 2015.

“I considered my work a provincial type of painting,” she said. “I’ve always considered myself more of a painter and within this remit I painted the joy of the underdeveloped.”

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González dipped into a new sort of inspiration well: gossip columns, works of corporate persuasion, accounts of royal movements. She revelled in the glitch; she zoomed in on the interplay between text and visual.

It was “art without horizons, confronting the everyday.”

She would flatten imagery by taking dynamic subject matter and painting in bold splotches, responding to a mass killing, or early instances of embedding broadcast equipment into mass consumer objects.

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Her association with the pop art movement has become well known, following solo exhibitions at Galeria Casas Riegner, in Bogotá, Peter Kilchmann Galerie, in Zurich, the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux in France and Museo del Barrio, in New York.

Lucky for González, the sort of art she prefers, such as the melange of lime/pea/forest greens in a relatively unassuming canvass, Apocalipsis Camuflado, has come into vogue in recent years. And it fits nicely within the confines of PAMM’s mission, which is to highlight stories from underrepresented communities.

Opening April 18, 2019 at PAMM

On display April 18 - Sept. 1, 2019

1103 Biscayne Blvd

Miami, FL 33132

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