Between Memory and Desire
Dimensions Variable (DV) presents a solo project titled Between Memory and Desire by Miami-based artist Clara Varas. The exhibition opens on October 22, 2022 and runs through January 10, 2023 in the Main Gallery.
The title references an in-between state- a conglomeration of what is factual, imagined, and future potential. The body of work in Between Memory and Desire was born from personal household items, clothing, found objects and industrial materials that excavate urbanity and allude to the precarious nature of contemporary life and the human condition. Varas, who is considered part of the 1.5 generation (persons who migrated to the United States between the ages of 6-18, and came of age here) uses the work as a means to record or explore personal history, identity, and how that may relate to current and broader experiences of migration and diaspora within Latinx, Caribbean and immigrant communities.
Consisting of site specific painting installation, mixed media assemblage and other painterly constructs- the works in exhibition exemplify the vitality of Miami and the capacity for painting as an expansive medium and environment. Varas’ work defies categorization, it is rooted in painting, yet remains in a space that is hybrid and in progress- as the artist has stated ” I never consider a piece finished, to me -it is a constantly evolving thing, always reacting to its immediate surroundings” One can perhaps make a case for calling the work a type of memento or monument, but these are not things that are only steeped in memory, they also affirm the present, daily life and the here and now.
Clara Varas (b. 1972 Havana, Cuba) lives and works in Miami, Florida. Varas holds a BFA in painting from the School of Visual Arts, New York, New York. The artist’s practice explores the field of expanded painting and investigates identity, gender, migration and the concept of home. Recent exhibitions include “Day IN- Day Out” (2021) Spinello Projects in Miami, Florida. “Florida Prize in Contemporary Art” (2021) at the Orlando Museum of Art in Orlando, Florida. “Cut: Abstraction in the United States from the 1970s to the Present” (2019) Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum in Miami, Florida. “Materiality” (2018) Scope Special Projects, Metropolitan Pavilion, New York, New York. Varas was a (2021) nominee for the Joan Mitchell Fellowship (former painters and sculptors grant) an Ellies Creator Award winner, (2020) from Oolite Arts, and a 2015 finalist for the Cintas Foundation fellowship in visual arts. Clara Varas’ work has been published in The New York Times, The Miami Herald, Miami New Times and Hyperallergic amongst many others. Varas’ work is part of numerous private collections and the permanent collection of the Perez Art Museum Miami.