Color and Light Converge in Mesmerizing Works by Venezuelan Artist Juvenal Ravelo

Juvenal Ravelo’s work is a visual treat: vibrant, geometric shapes converge in striking, shimmering patterns that recall op art. Working with metal and acrylic, Ravelo employs abstraction to investigate how we perceive color and form on flat surfaces. This month, 28 of his mesmerizing works are on view at Durban Segnini Gallery in Miami.

By using metal sheets and mirror fragments, Ravelo is able to create highly reflective, pieces that absorb and play with light. His works combine precisely cut parts that range in shape and materials but are put together in intriguing mosaic-like patchworks that are impeccably arranged and ordered. Fragmentación de la luz y el color (2014) is mostly vertical; at first glance it looks like a spliced-up piano, albeit with keys in shades of yellow and gray. All seems to be neatly rendered and technically uniform, until one comes across a little set of black lines that are scattered throughout. This unexpected break in the overall composition imbues the work with a scintillating, hyper-optical effect, like a little reward for especially detail-oriented viewers.

In another work by the same name, a steady stream of black-and-white stripes expands horizontally, interrupted intermittently by colorful, origami-like shapes. Sections of the work seem to pop off the page and into three dimensions—and indeed they do, as the surface is actually raised. With this innovative technique, Ravelo demonstrates his skill for working around material constraints and developing interesting combinations of color and form.

Throughout his practice, Ravelo engages with elements of constructivism, geometric art, kinetic art, and their contemporary applications. With each chromatic shift, Ravelo’s passion for playing with form and composition becomes more apparent. As Venezuelan kinetic and op art master Carlos Cruz-Diez once exclaimed: “Ravelo belongs to a generation of Venezuelan artists who see research as a revolutionary source of art. Only a profound analysis of the meaning of this vital activity by man would be able to open new paths in modern art, and Juvenal is conscious of this…[he] is a luminary and a point of reference in contemporary Venezuelan art in virtue of the deliberate and disciplined development of his work.”

—Anna Furman

Juvenal Ravelo” is on view at Durban Segnini Gallery, Miami, Apr. 10–Jul. 10, 2015.

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