The Paintings and Photography of Pedro Antonio Abreu April 16 -May 8 Opening: April 23 6 - 9pm
Pedro Abreu was born in Samaná in the Dominican Republic. He received his first camera, a Kodak Brownie, at age ten, and he immediately began his first project: taking pictures of his family. He earned his BFA at the Cooper Union School of Art and Architecture in New York City.
As an independent artist, Pedro has exhibited in numerous solo and group shows internationally including the Indépendants Salon des Artistes in Paris and Museo Del Barrio in NYC. His project "Ghosts in the Streets" is a series of images accumulated over the years.
The photos focus on the interactions between people and their immediate surroundings. Windows to Light “When I was a child in the Dominican Republic, I used to wander miles from my home and explore the lush countryside.
There was a large cemetery on one side of a fence, and on the other was a beautiful mango tree. I used to swing from that tree on a tire, and watch the scenery. I’d sit there eating mangos and swinging. When the tire would swing forward, I saw graves. When it swung back, I saw mango trees. Forward -graves again, back -trees. The mangoes tasted so sweet, as I contemplated the solemn graves, wondering whether or not any of the people buried there were people I knew. I wondered if someday I would be buried there. As I recall this image, I feel as though I am coming now to an intellectual understanding of something that I experienced then with the organic nature of a child. I am so struck by the juxtaposition of the mango tree brimming with life, and the ominous grave stones on the other side of the fence –A contrast that I never noticed as a child. Then, everything had appeared completely natural to me. As a child, it never struck me as odd that these extremes should exist side by side with one another. I accepted this as readily as I did the color of the grass or the sky. It never occurred to me that I should feel any anxiety or unpleasantness about these images, or try to deny them. I always perceived a playfulness in my surroundings, and in nature. Even in the idea of death. These were very instinctive moments for me.
I realize now that all my instincts for photography and painting come from childhood. It was moments such as this that created my sense of the potential for odd shifts of dimension in space. These shifts mirror our relationships –the way outlooks in life shift and change denoting the constant fluctuation of our experience. It all depends on how we look at the circumstances.
There is always more going on in any given situation than we think. And just when I think I’ve grasped what’s going o n in the moment, the angle shifts, and I view things in a new way. One moment I am winning, the next I’m losing. In my eyes I am a giant, and yet unbeknownst to me, in a nearby dimension, an enormous blond woman is getting ready to crush my scull with her stiletto.
Meanwhile, my girlfriend leans forward to give me a little kiss on my cheek, and nearly devours two unsuspecting security guards with her massive lips. These things exist all around us! To me, the only truly fantastic idea is the fact that we pretend there is such a thing as “normalcy,” and try to adhere to its bounds.
To me, to attempt to be “normal” by being structured and deliberate in one’s thinking, is to deny or condemn half of what is experienced in every moment.
For me, the point is to remember to view the world and everything in it as through the eyes of a child –playfully exploring every potential perspective free of judgment or condemnation.
In this way, I am able to experience every instant as filled with potential for fascination and joy! It is what you choose to notice that makes life significant.
Notice the things that give you pleasure –the things that excite and mystify. The essential component is you! It is your perspective in the here and now that makes the moment what it is, whether it is a still photograph you are observing, or the naked world.
In each and every moment of the day, the creator of that moment is you. The situations, the angles, the possibilities, are all what you choose them to be. Explore different perspectives, different points of view, and behold what adventures are waiting for you no further than just outside your own window.
Everything that you have ever wanted is already yours! –Every exciting, quirky experience! But you have to remember to look! That is our job, to look! We live sandwiched in juxtaposition of images –swinging between life and death, eating mangoes and wondering about the whole process. We are children at play in a sea of metaphors. Our surroundings are merely images arranged on a screen suggesting to us the stark contrasts and subtle nuances of our own natures. What fascinating creatures we are! What a delightful game life is!
Pedro The artist states, "I chose the images largely for two reasons. The first is long standing appeal. Over the years, my images have sustained a certain ghostly and mystical feeling that I sensed and envisioned when taking them. The images seem to work as well today as when I made them. The idea was to identify and capture the emotions of people in their immediate environment and to capture the spirit of the moment.
Hence, giving my images the timeless appeal I'd hoped to achieve then."