Frost to exhibit Cuban and Chinese artists

The Frost Art Museum brings the work of internationally renowned contemporary artists to its galleries this summer — among them one of China’s most famous — and kicks things off with a free opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 12.

Lazy Eyes

Leonel Matheu, Lazy Eyes

Crossroads of the Dystopia features the work of Cuban-born artist Leonel Matheu, who has been a prominent figure on the national and international arts scene for more than 20 years. His work encompasses colored pencil drawings, ink on paper and oil on canvas as well as video, multimedia installations and public installations. Curated by Janet Batet, the exhibition represents more than two decades of work and provides a comprehensive overview of Matheu’s distinctive imagery.

Says Batet in describing the artist’s portfolio, “If a single symbol could summarize the iconic work of Leonel Matheu, it would be the enigmatic head — a sort of dome — that appears as a constant throughout his work. It serves as a self-portrait and collective portrayal of a nation marked by diaspora and dystopia.

“Spirituality, technology, passion, solitude, dreams, chimeras and deceptions are at the core of his thoughtful body of work,” Batet adds.

Matheu graduated from the Institute of Graphic Design of Havana in 1987. In 1992 he settled in Miami and today resides in Los Angeles. Numerous museums include his artwork among their collections.

Also debuting on July 12: the first of a series of three planned exhibits featuring contemporary Chinese artists and presented under the umbrella of 3 Giants of Chinese Contemporary Art. The leadoff is a show by one of China’s most internationally acclaimed artists, Simon Ma, who will offer a demonstration of his freehand brushwork during the reception. The Frost is the first U.S. stop on the exhibit’s world tour.

1. Awakening

Simon Ma, Awakening

Heart.Water.Ink. features more than 70 works, among them paintings, graffiti art, calligraphy sculptures, lacquer paintings, 3-D video, projections and large-scale dragon and horse sculptures. As 2014 is the Chinese Year of the Horse, and the word “Ma” means horse, the animal becomes the central subject in an exhibit that unites the past and the present.

Chinese artists Wang Qingsong and Xu Bing will be featured in exhibitions opening in November and February, respectively.

In announcing the series, museum Director Carol Damian emphasized the  significance of hosting three of the most acclaimed contemporary Chinese artists. “This is an incredible, perhaps once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for South Floridians to see the works of these recognized and important artists. This brings the world of contemporary Chinese art to our doorstep.”

The Frost Art Museum is located at FIU’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus, 11200 SW 8th Street, Miami. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday. Admission is free.

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