“The Death of Fear,” an exhibition of ink and pencil drawings on paper by Nelson Gutierrez, will be on display from Friday, May 3 through Thursday, June 6, 2013, in the Margaret W. and Joseph L. Fisher Art Gallery, located in the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall & Arts Center at the Alexandria Campus. The opening reception is scheduled for Saturday, May 11 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Gallery hours are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday to Friday and during performances.
Gutierrez’s current work includes about 90 ink and pencil individual drawings on paper based on recent worldwide social uprisings. He is intrigued with the manifestations and, in some cases, the revolutions that we have witnessed in recent years. He has selected images from 15 different countries, from the Arab Uprising to the streets of Athens, where the social malaise is palpable. Individuals have lost their fear of governments and establishments and taken to the streets to demand change. Irrespective of whether or not we agree with the uprisings, when we see images of the demonstrations, they look strikingly similar around the world. Dark clothes, designer tennis shoes, hooded jackets and backpacks and a body language that almost looks as if extracted from choreographed events.
Working from archival photographic material, Gutierrez’s work is an investigation on visual perception, media and the relationship between them. He looks at the connection between individual and collective identity, passive spectators versus active engagement. Each individual drawing isolates one subject, focusing on fragments excerpted from the broader context in which they may inevitably get lost; it focuses on people who are likewise passionately engaged. The images now possess a different emphasis, one far removed from that widely disseminated in newspapers, magazines and the Internet. The drawings work perfectly as individual pieces but gain strength when displayed as a group.
Gutierrez is a Colombian-born artist. He holds a master’s degree in fine arts from Chelsea College of Art and Design in London and a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Universidad de Bogota Jorge Tadeo Lozano. Since the early 1990s, Gutierrez has focused on creating two- and three-dimensional artworks, conceptual objects and installations, based on current sociopolitical issues. Through art he looks to better understand societal conflict and its implications psychologically and socially. He has exhibited his artwork in different venues in United States, Colombia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. His work is part of several public and private collections including the Art Bank Collection in Washington, D.C. His work has also been chosen by Tricia Van Eck, associate curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, for the Saatchi Online project, 100 curators 100 days.
Named for the late artist Margaret “Peggy” Fisher and her husband, Joseph, the Fisher Art Gallery is located on the upper level of the Schlesinger Center.