Jo Ann Perse. Miami.
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Jo Ann Perse. Miami.

Jo Ann Perse. Art Rouge. Miami.

Catálogo exposición “Box of Mental States” Galería Art Rouge, Miami. Noviembre 2008.




Jo Ann Perse


My first introduction to Jose Manuel Ciria’s work was through a catalog from a gallery in Madrid (Spain), that had been given to me by a friend. I found myself looking through the catalog time and time again because my eye kept seeing something different upon each viewing. The compositions were so intriguing, the colors vibrant, hot, and intricate. When I looked at the images on the pages, I knew I was looking at something and someone unique. I have often wondered since how his imagination became the reality of his paintings.


The story being told through this latest series, entitled La Guardia Place, is the story of evolution from beginning to end, with man and woman, birth and death, sex and love, all bursting with a life force from the artists hand directly onto the surface of the canvas. Perhaps a rebirth of the artist’s vision, his next stage of evolution. They are not just simple abstract forms.


Jose leaves the message of his work intentionally blurry. Its interpretation or re-interpretation is strictly up to the viewer. Every eye see’s a different vista, and as the old saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Then the beauty of form, of life, of color, of landscapes and vistas, all things seen and imagined are personified on canvas by Jose.


The paintings in the La Guardia Place series challenge the viewer by both their size and their imposing shapes. They seem to come to life in quiet simplistic form and morph into the most powerful figures in a dramatic landscape with fantastical backgrounds. The artist introduces us to such wondrous and amazing colors, alluring shades of earthen greens, vibrant scrumptious oranges, and warm welcoming greys, reminiscent of the elements, earth, air, water. The compositions have a hard “push-pull” quality to them, with dominant out of scale orbs and humanistic shapes which are captured in deep dimensional space realms or a never-ending cosmic landscape.


The explosion of the artist’s colors, the way his brush seems to dance across the canvas, leaves viewers wondering what lies beyond the borders. It could be a single man on the brink of evolution, perhaps holding his arm out as if an invitation of welcome to some unseen visitor. Ciria’s work takes the viewers imagination on a journey to distant lands and future/past species that we would never meet otherwise.


Ciria introduces us to a new series Schandenmaske Masks in this exhibition. Huge paintings and warm inviting drawings. Man has been drawing, creating, making, and sculpting masks in every culture since the beginning of time. Ciria brings these simple mask renderings to life in a quick succession of strokes, and they have this haunting ghost-like everyman visage. They can also evoke warmth, strength, and individuality. It is a language we all understand and I, for one, feel moved by their presence in both mediums.


Ciria’s work is reminiscent of the classic masters of color, like Kazimir Malevich, or creators of movement like Toulouse Lautrec and Edgar Degas, and the spiritual evocation of African mask craftsmen, over a stick-like figures, like that of Alberto Giacometti. It’s all a re-interpretation with an eye of a new generation looking towards the future.


This new body of work makes you believe in the power of man, the strength of man, the future of art and the enduring legacy of Jose Manuel Ciria.