Skip to main content

Press Release

Press Release

|   Press Release

Contemporary photography-based art has the possibility to overcome the representation of a pre-existent set of circumstances, the primary characteristic of direct photography. Mari Carmen Orizondo constructs the situations that she photographs using the most varied elements. She takes advantage of the realistic visual approach of photography to produce suggestive and expressive images that flow from her imagination.

Artmedia Gallery is pleased to present the artist's second solo exhibition—both in this space—in which she explores a case of Cuban nature and culture's particular relationship. Having been made in Santo Domingo, the based-place of the artist, the body of work The Magic of El Monte resonates, from its crossing-language title and evocation of Lydia Cabrera’s famous book, as an imaginary point for an emotional and poetic encounter with Cuban memory.

The polymita, an endemic Cuban mollusk, possesses what is internationally considered the most beautiful shell among these invertebrate species because of its formal design and rich and diverse color. Combining one collected polymita with a matching solo colorful stage that works as a kind of splendorous chromatic background for her photographs, the artist has created a wall installation—Kelekú—composed of many pieces. She also highlights the shells' attractiveness potentiating their gorgeous look with the rhythmic spatial distribution of images.

In danger of extinction because of its indiscriminate economic exploitation during the 1960s and 1970s, the polymita is a land snail located in Eastern Cuba that grows in small areas of intricate vegetation. With Eweku, another wall installation, Orizondo reinterprets the poyimita’s natural environment as a garden of tropical lushness, a place that is mythical and magical.

The exhibition also groups a selection of pictures from the series Chogú. Although the polymitas haven’t been part of the Cuban santería rituals, they have been used to decorate the syncretic altars dedicated to African gods and Catholic saints because of their beauty. These altars summarize not only the combination of different beliefs related to the Afro Cuban religiosity but also one of the most significant Cuban cultural traits: its transcultural spiritual and material components, as they are driven in Orizondo’s photographs.

About the artist

Mari Carmen Orizondo is an American, Cuban-born artist based in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In 2022, she won the Photography Award at the XXIV Bienal Nacional de Artes Visuales in the Dominican Republic, the highest art event in the country. She has exhibited assiduously at the Bienal Internacional de Fotografía, Photoimagen, organized by the Centro de la Imagen in Santo Domingo. Her work has been included in several group exhibitions in his based-country and abroad.

About the curator

José Antonio Navarrete (Cuban-Venezuelan, based in Miami) is a critic, researcher, and independent art and visual culture curator. He is in charge of the ArtMedia curatorial program and participates in several international projects as a curator or writer contributor.

About the gallery

Artmedia Gallery was founded in 2012. With a location in Little River, Miami, Florida, the gallery has the mission to exhibit and promote contemporary art based on photography and video practices. One of the gallery's central objectives is to explore the vast possibilities of the expanded notion of art through media technology.