Puerto Rico: Defying Darkness

Patrick McGrath Web 

August 11 - October 6

Curated by Josie Lopez, this exhibition shines a light on Puerto Rico as a non-incorporated territory of the United States that was devastated by hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017, while celebrating contemporary artists from Puerto Rico. Artists who were already living and working in the shadow of severe economic crisis were further impacted by the physical damage of the storms that resulted in most of the island being left without power and many structures being damaged or destroyed. Arts institutions across the United States are responding to try and help ensure the safety of artworks and to bring attention to the situation that Puerto Ricans currently face. Puerto Rico: Defying Darkness features artists living in Puerto Rico and the United States who are engaging with issues of climate justice, continued colonialism and imperialism.

Artists include Adal, whose recent project Puerto Ricans Under Water is a photography series engaging with the multiple meaning of being “under water” bringing together both the financial crisis and the impact of Hurricane Maria. Elsa María Meléndez will create Sprout Again / Retoñar, a new large-scale installation utilizing materials from a fabric store that was destroyed by Hurricane Maria. Patrick McGrath Muniz’s paintings use traditional techniques to explore contemporary Puerto Rican themes such as the debt crisis and climate change. Antonio Martorell will show a series of graphic works entitled Loas, which address themes of Afro-Latino identity and colonialism. Frances Gallardo is working in both printmaking and sculpture analyzing meteorological information regarding hurricanes and is currently creating new work for the exhibition. Myritza Castillo’s photographs examine the Puerto Rican landscape from diverse perspectives utilizating mirrors to refract her imagery. Rafael Trelles is featured with a diptych that pays homage to Carlos Raquel Rivera with a photo-montage displayed alongside the 1950 print documenting Hurricane Santa Clara. Paintings by Orlando Vallejo traverse the boundaries between abstraction and representation. 

Above: Patrick McGrath, Alba's Dream, oil and gold leaf on canvas, 30 x 24 inches