Campos and Canals, the Maze

 

Paintings and Drawings by Eloy Torrez

Photographs by Juliane Backmann

 

The Fremont Gallery is pleased to present Campos and Canals, The Maze, a collaborative Exhibition by

Juliane Backmann and Eloy Torrez.

 

        Collaborations are by their very nature a conciliatory effort, two artists arriving at a mutual understanding either in language or in visual terms through a process of simultaneous reduction and expansion, yet the best collaborations are verifiably multidimensional wherein the two artists create a synergy of ideas and materials that expands their initial individual impulse. Eloy Torrez and Juliane Backmann have created a visual dialogue that constitutes a journey, both literal and metaphoric wherein the artists traveled to Venice Italy as artists in residency, exploring the literal landscape while also investigating the deeper, less obvious terrain of human relationships.

        Both Torrez and Backmann approach Venice as a vessel of history, yet for Torrez, whose intimate pencil and colored pencil drawings reflect a more historically codified understanding of the city where portraits of individual faces come together as a compendium of contemporary human life in and around the city. Torrez’ paintings also function as visual analogs of every day culture, blending myth with a contemporary aesthetic, ultimately transforming the idea of a universal human experience into something truly extraordinary. Again, as with his drawings, Torrez’ imagery attests to a heightened sensitivity to the human condition and all its complexity. Similarly, Backmann’s photographs chart the simultaneity of human experience as analog images of specific buildings, streets, plazas and piazzas meld effortlessly with the people who move through them, creating a portrait of visual culture whereby we come to comprehend the essence of space and time.

       The artists have also collaborated on a video project that involves a journey from Venice through the Alps to the German city of Augsburg. The film functions in much the same way Backmann’s photographs operate, on a literal and visceral plane, charting distances, both figurative and real where landscapes blend and recede, come into focus and shift out again in much the same way people occupy space, coming and going all the time. The idea of speed and autonomy is also a reference point in the exhibition in another short film that charts the movements of boats in the waters of Venice. This work in particular conflates the “old” with the “new,” the ancient with the contemporary, as both gondolas and speedboats fill the screen, seeming to vie for space and attention.

       Born in Muenster, Germany, Juliane Backmann studied photography at the Academy of Photo Design in Munich. Her photographs, collages and installations have been exhibited throughout the United States and Germany. In 2013 she was awarded a residency from the Emily Harvey Foundation in Venice Italy. Backmann is also the recipient of several awards from the APA and PX3. Eloy Torrez was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and moved to California at age 13. He graduated from Otis Art Institute in 1982. He has exhibited his work both nationally and internationally and is the recipient of numerous grants including the C.O.L.A., The California Community Foundation grant and a Brody Fellowship in the humanities. Also a well known muralist, his murals include The Pope of Broadway, Entrada a un Nuevo Mundo in St. Denis, France and the famed Portrait of Hollywood at Hollywood High School.