NEW YORK: Company Gallery: Raul de Nieves

Raul De Nieves / El Rio (installation view) / Company Gallery

Opening Reception: Wednesday June 8, 6-8 PM

Company Gallery is pleased to present Raul de Nieves’s exhibition, titled El Rio (The River).

In the tribal cultures of New Guinea, an adolescent boy will be arrayed in the most elaborate paint and finery, singing as he approaches death. Among the Aztecs, the highest honor to which one could attain was to be sacrificed to the deity so that one’s people could thrive.

In El Rio, Raul De Nieves examines our own rejection of death with curiosity and satire, observing the patterns of nature alien to our terrestrial sphere. The river serves as a portal to the trials of life rejected to the subconscious. The exhibition traces obscure geometry in patterns of growth and color found in nature ranging through the avian, fungal, aquatic, and visceral. Sculptures re-model the processes of crystallization with humor and grandeur. Paintings unfold in triptychs beside masked figures posing like boogey men, indulging in our culture’s reappropriations of natural structures to suit its manic obsessions with apparel, religion, and warfare.

De Nieves proceeds to rephrase the meaning of death, not as an antithesis of life, but as one of its most ecstatic mysteries. Despite the grave themes addressed in El Rio, its broad range of work converges with an air that it unmistakably celebratory. As though in a spirit of rejoicing, the very things we are conditioned to fear are intended to be embraced, befriended, and integrated.

Image Credit: Raul De Nieves, El Rio (installation view), Company Gallery