By: Gabrielle Santeiro and Jamie Rager
Florida State University’s Museum of Fine Arts is currently hosting Shape Shifting: 35 Years of Late Modernist Prints, an exhibit curated from pieces in the museum’s permanent collection, including several newly acquired works. Featuring abstraction, geometric shapes and eye-catching color schemes, Shape Shifting also shines a light on Hispanic and Latine artists, as well as Florida’s historical connections to Latin America and the Caribbean.
“Something we’re always striving for within our Permanent Collection is that the work reflects the students that we serve at FSU,” said Meredith Lynn, Interim Director and Curator at MoFA. “The art in our museum should reflect the vibrant Hispanic and Latine communities on FSU’s campus.”
In addition to recognizing and sharing the work of these artists, these efforts also acknowledge Florida’s close ties to the region.
“Historically, Florida was part of the Spanish Americas, what is now called Latin America, for much longer than it has been a territory or state within the United States,” explains Michael Carrasco, Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Associate Professor of Art History and Cultural Heritage Studies. “ Because of this Latin American art is part of the historical continuum with which this region has always been entangled.”
The team at MoFA worked with local art collectors in Puerto Rico to acquire works emblematic of the era, such as Domingo Garcia’s 1970 work Composición Sobre Crema. A printmaking pioneer, Garcia’s work in expressionism, abstraction and pop art, and his interest in harmony and the use of color influenced artists everywhere, particularly in Hispanic and Latine countries.
Shape Shifting is designed to help visitors to better understand historical context of abstraction, tracing the art form through many major movements of the modern era, such as cubism and futurism. Visitors can explore the print culture of the mid-to-late 20th century and develop an understanding of how the work of artists like Domingo Garcia fit into the conversations of the time, and how they influenced others.
“Abstract work is popular for a reason,” Lynn said. “Audiences respond to it because they’re not being told exactly what the artist wants them to see, instead they are invited to find their own meanings and connections. It’s important to provide context with this kind of work though. You could look at a print and see colored rings and squares next to each other and find meaning within the shapes, but then you would miss an opportunity to discuss the important context surrounding the work, such as the background of the artist, the politics surrounding the artwork, how the artwork is paid for or who the audience is.”
To help visitors engage with this exciting art form, the exhibit features a do-it-yourself workstation, where visitors can arrange shapes to make their own composition. The station has been popular among visitors.
Shape Shifting will be on display at MoFA through Dec. 10 and is free to the public.
Learn more about the museum and plan your visit at mofa.fsu.edu.