IMPERFECT. An Uncertain Path
From September 5 to October 4, 2019
I don’t know why I should pursue an ideal of perfection in an imperfect world. To understand this has been a liberation, but it has also opened up access to a form of empathy that allows me to glimpse suffering and other traumatic experiences.
Marvin Liberman‘s artistic career reveals two different periods. While in the former he devoted himself to sculpture and drawing, both figurative, in the more recent his work is abstract and focuses on a more primitive expressive language. He was born in the USA, then moved to Madrid since 2006. After that, he chose to live in La Paz, Bolivia, where the encounter with Andean fabrics captivated him and led him to choose textiles as his material work.
“IMPERFECT. An Uncertain Path ” is an exhibition of abstract works by Marvin Liberman. His work comprises forms and methods that have as a common thread the nature of imperfection and the tragic.
Despite of their non-figurative character, the works emanate a hint of life. They are intimate, irregular and often poignant.
The sculptural works are made up of tree branches that delicately incorporate gauze (tarlatan) shapes in their composition. Color is applied to textiles, something that reflects Liberman ‘s training as a painter and reminds us of his past work in large format pastel. The materials are simple and the images are enigmatic, haunting.
In his drawings the paths diverge. In pencil and graphite, a sometimes in color, they explore a precarious balance that reflects the ephemeral (or enduring) relationships that we establish between ourselves or the unstable backgrounds that accompany us.
They are images that do not tell a story, they do not describe anything. They simply discover meaning, using the language of abstraction and the unconscious as a tool.
Imperfect . An Uncertain Path
By choosing the imperfect as a roadmap for my way of working, I choose to free myself from the assumptions that subject us when we go in search of ideals. The imperfect is an admission of my limits, but also a portal that allows me to enter an unknown world.
I work intentionally without knowing where I am going. I choose ‘not to know’ the address and rather find it on the road. This “blindness” allows me to err in the unconscious and come into contact, through empathy, with the reality of others.
These works, from some reason, simply let me be a person who I am, while, at the same time, they transform into free entities, with their own voice and a palpable life.
In the end, my work seeks to imbue the form with an evocative content that leads us to reflection.
Experience of the Imperfect
Years and experience have convinced me that the imperfect, at work and in life, is closer to the reality that surrounds us. I don’t know why I should pursue an ideal of perfection in an imperfect world. To understamd this has been a release, but it has also opened up access to a form of empathy that allows me to glimpse suffering and other traumatic experiences.
My work belongs to a primitive or basic field. It doesn’t demand as much talent for detailed or refined articulation. I do not have the desire or the need to demonstrate my gifts as proof that I have paid my floor fee.
Also, I do not consciously seek beauty, only something that embodies meaning. I have come to the conclusion that some artists need to comment, reveal and confront the weight of reality in today’s world, and communicate it in an accessible way to others, at least on an intuitive level.
Sometimes in my work you feel a disturbing presence or the encounter of opposing forces. It may be because we live in times of discordance.
The ocassional discovery of a simple gauze called tarlatana and an essay I did with it opened the door to all my recent work. The fabric is sparse, fragile in use, yet impressively malleable. And this fragility and inconsistency became the material of this series that began with an idea… that of ‘a cloak of scars’… a layer or skin that covers the body and that carries the history of the trauma experienced. These translucent ‘bodies’ that were emerging intuitively, allowed me to leave behind the figure and revealed a path where the important thing is the presence and not its configuration.
The critical and enlightening moment in the evolution of these disturbing works was Discord 9, which began as a couple. My intuition told me no, that I should separate the forms, each one as an independent entity, alone and precariously far from the wall. The uncertainty was and is essential to the work. Then, in Discord 10, the silent presence of a form – enclosed in itself – with sharp extensions on one of its sides, deepens the connection with what then and now worries me: the disintegration of communities and the wounds in the social fabric .
I found myself making structures with branches that enclosed and trapped what could be inside them related to the consciousness of global tragedy. As they were made only of branches, what they contained was not entirely clear to me. Then, thanks to a friend’s comment, I realized that they were missing the presence of ‘something’ alive and I thought of subtle shapes of chiffon. With Pitcher 1, I began to place a reclining form ‘inside’, supported by branches, and in doing so, a path was opened to explore the relationship between a primitive structure and what it might contain.
I use very basic materials: just soft graphite pencils and erasers, sometimes I apply a subtle color. I started drawing thinking that lines and marks were our first discoveries of a visual language. This was also my own beginning: each line, each mark, throbbed with a life of its own, independent of the hand that had drawn it. They are a series of images that do not tell a story or describe anything, but evolve into a kind of subconscious, an experience prior to the verbal that is captured on the page.