A Venezuelan Painter Explores the Nature of Reality in a Debut Virtual Show

Perhaps you’ve heard: the art world is increasingly moving online. For most galleries, the goal is to have more presence on the internet. But the Latin American-focused gallery Studio 905 on Juniper—based in Atlanta—is transitioning completely to a virtual exhibition space.

It’s rather fitting that the gallery’s first online show, “The Reality of Dreams,” grapples with questions of what is real, what is imagined, and the blurry space in between. It’s also the first solo exhibition for Carlos A. Solis, a surrealist Venezuelan painter who creates dramatic, color-saturated  Dalí-esque works. Dali had The Persistence of Memory (1931), Solis has the clock-centric Enigmatic Dream (2013).

Indeed, there are a few interesting parallels between the artists that are worth noting. While Salvador Dali pointed toward his own Moorish background as a way of explaining his “love of everything that is gilded and excessive,” Solis credits his Venezuelan heritage, and his exposure to a variety of South American cultures, when discussing his own vibrant color palette and grandiose compositions. Dali was a skilled draftsman, Solis is trained as a graphic designer: both artists cultivated technical skills that helped them translate their visions into reality. And both favored (or favor, in the case of Solis) oil on canvas. 

Multicultural influences are certainly evident in many of Solis’s latest works. In his artist statement, for instance, he mentions “the majestic animals of the Amazon or Indians from Venezuela.” The former are on display in dark, richly detailed pieces like El Dorado (2012) and The Door (2012). And it’s impossible to miss the exotic wildlife at the heart of “The Reality of Dreams.” A leaping horse and a stately lion take center stage in Reaching My Dreams (2012) and The Right to Joy (2012), respectively, while the domineering and fantastically plumed peacock in Strange Bird in My Backyard (2015) is a showstopper. 

There is a Catholic saint, a chair growing from a tree, and nude women, among many other highlights—imagery seemingly lifted out of a psychedelic dream or nightmare. And that’s just what Solis hoped to express in his new show: an exploration of perceptions of reality, just in time for the gallery’s first virtual exhibition.

Bridget Gleeson

The Reality of Dreams” is on view online with Studio 905 on Juniper, Sep. 14th – Oct. 23rd, 2015.

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