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Editorial: Recommendations
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Candida Alvarez
Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago Illinois
Recommendation by Robin Dluzen


Candida Alvarez, “Arroz Amargo,” 2010, acrylic and pencil on canvas, 84 x 72"

Continuing through August 6, 2017

Often we think of an artist’s evolution as developing in linear fashion: moving from one MO to another, retaining some characteristics while losing others. The oeuvre of Brooklyn-born, Chicago-based painter Candida Alvarez shows us a creative trajectory that is far more fluid. This is Alvarez’s survey exhibition, titled “Here,” and while it does have a clear “before-and-after” dichotomy punctuated by her MFA at Yale in the late 1990s, aesthetic and symbolic elements ebb and flow in works throughout the decades.

Alvarez’s early works from the 1980s are figurative and narrative with folkish stylistic references, while works from the 1990s onward are characterized by a knowing aura of conceptualism. However, intermingled within those distinctions are abstract and representational paintings, hard edge formalism and paint-by-number aesthetics. Their posture fluctuates from the undeniably kitschy to trendy casualist. While deciphering meaning from Alvarez’s enigmatic paintings may be complicated to varying degrees, her oeuvre has been presented clearly: Alvarez is an “artist’s artist” with an enviably organic, individualistic practice.

Chicago Cultural Center

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