Opening Reception: October 28, 2022, 6-8pm
(Beverly Hills, CA – October 3, 2022) UTA Artist Space is pleased to present Garden of Eve, Harmonia Rosales’ second solo exhibition in Los Angeles and first at UTA Artist Space. Building on past exhibitions, Garden of Eve brings together previously shown and never before seen works to tell the story of creation through the eyes of women and Orishas, deities of the African Diaspora.
Growing up in Chicago, Rosales’ worldview and artistic practice were heavily informed by her Afro-Cuban American background. Going to museums as a child, Rosales was fascinated by the impeccable skill and composition of Renaissance masters, but deterred by the Eurocentrism and paternalism of their work. Her paintings bring new life to Renaissance style by reimagining hegemonic narratives with Black and Latinx subjects at the forefront of familiar religious and Greco-Roman stories.
Central to the exhibition is Rosales’ re-interpretation of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, an installation spanning five years of her work. Looking up, one sees the concave interior of an upturned slave ship, completed with Rosales’ vision of the genesis of Earth, its people, and the histories of their lives. Entwined between the paintings, Rosales’ Ignudi show the varied beauty of the African Diaspora with powerful figures that twist and pull against the architecture. Sounds of the creaking, rocking ship making its way through the Atlantic slave trade pierce through the gallery space and accompany the paintings from which the piece was stitched together. Limited edition, hand-embellished prints of this work will be released at the opening celebration.
Rosales’ works are ripe with symbolism, meaning, and history. In Garden of Eve, Yemaya (the orisha of motherhood and the sea) shields her eyes amidst the beautiful chaos of flower petals and children. The disruption of her perfect garden intentionally parallels the disruption of the African continent. Works like Dinis Dias: Land of the Negros draw direct inspiration from historical documents and figures, depicting Pope Nicholas V with his papal bull condoning slavery. Within the panels of this triptych and many of her other works, the artist chooses a strangler fig to symbolize the impulse of greed, with its alluring quality and organic desire to destroy its host once sprouted. Ultimately, Rosales sees an amalgam of tragedy and beauty in disorder because it grants onlookers the courage to look beyond a dominant narrative.
In bringing together old and new works, Garden of Eve represents a culmination of Rosales’ oeuvre, which aims to elevate untold stories and call into question the narratives we have been told time and time again. Her reinterpretations of classical tales don’t intend to take their place as a new canon, but rather to expand the possibilities for endless creation stories and histories to be told. Rosales encourages viewers to find and listen to their Ori, or inner voice and destiny, and push back against the temptations and influences we face, to strive for a better future.
This November, amfAR’s 12th Annual Gala Los Angeles will feature Harmonia Rosales’ painting Portrait of Eve (2022), on view as part of this exhibition. From March through June 2023, the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art (MBMA) will host their highly anticipated exhibition Harmonia Rosales: Master Narrative. In addition to exhibiting select works from Garden of Eve, the exhibition will debut Rosales’ painting Migration of the Gods (2021) at the MBMA, the Museum’s first acquisition made possible through the recent $5-million endowment of the Blackmon-Perry Curatorial Fellowship of African American Art and Art of the African Diaspora.
ABOUT HARMONIA ROSALES
Harmonia Rosales (b. 1984, Chicago, IL) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Her paintings depict and honor the African diaspora, reimagining new forms of aesthetic beauty, somewhere between pure love and ideological counter-hegemony. The core of her practice emerged from a childhood fascination with Renaissance masters, combined with a desire to decenter the white masculine hierarchy in their Eurocentric definitions of beauty. Her message is not to create an ideal or to simply copy, but rather to create a resurgence of African mythology and its deities, visually, in contemporary culture and media.
ABOUT UTA ARTIST SPACE
Since the establishment of its flagship Beverly Hills location in 2018, UTA Artist Space has been committed to showcasing art by globally recognized talent. With the announcement of a second Atlanta location, to open in 2023, UTA Artist Space will bring its impressive vision and reach across the United States. The original location has presented notable exhibitions with interdisciplinary artists and creatives, including Enrique Martinez Celaya, Mandy El-Sayegh, Conrad Egyir, The Estate of Ernie Barnes, Essence Harden, Larry Clark, Ferrari Sheppard, Amanda Hunt, Mariane Ibrahim, Arcmanoro Niles, The Carpenter’s Workshop Gallery, The Haas Brothers, and Ai Weiwei, among others.
UTA (United Talent Agency) unites ideas, opportunities and talent. The company represents some of the world’s most iconic, barrier-breaking artists, creators and changemakers—from actors, athletes and musicians to writers, gamers and digital influencers. One of the most influential companies in global entertainment, UTA’s business spans talent representation, content production, as well as strategic advisory and marketing work with some of the world’s biggest brands. UTA is headquartered in Los Angeles with offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Nashville, New York and London. More information can be found at unitedtalent.com
All visitors will have to acknowledge both the health and safety guidelines and their health status before they visit. Depending upon county and city guidelines, guests will be encouraged or required to wear masks. Masks and hand sanitizer will be available on site for guest usage. Guests are encouraged to practice social distancing. Restrooms will be closed to guests and the Artist Space will be deep cleaned on a regular schedule following the close of business each day.
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