Broken Landscape is a collection of sculptures by artist Jorge Mayet that present an anthology of remnants and personal memories belonging to the artist and the Cuban diaspora. The sculptures of photo-realistic trees and landscapes levitate at various heights and appear to be broken, becoming physical manifestations of the artist’s splintered records of memories and yearning for the homeland he used to know.
Upon first entering the exhibit, my eyes were immediately drawn to a high, hovering tree that greeted me to the center of the room. It’s drenching roots hung down like twisted arms of a chandelier that pointed me in the direction of two mossy landscapes that opened up into a room full of levitating trees.
Floating at different heights, the trees tell a story of moments in Mayet’s life and present an essence of vitality and destruction. Branches covered in dancing white feathers celebrate life. A brooding, grey tree with deconstructed cement pulling down the branches speak of struggle and loss. But the most important story Mayet shares is through a piece that floats a little further away from the rest of the collection - a piece entitled ‘Me desprendo de tí’.
With limbs and roots extending from a bed of red earth, ‘Me desprendo de tí’ (a single tree) represents the artist leaving his homeland but still feeling deeply embedded within it. References to social and spiritual practices resonate throughout these works, signifying those aspects of a lost life that are most treasured. Mayet is no less a Cuban for living away from Cuba and as with many who have departed the island nation, his heart and mind remain entangled with the vibrant culture and people with whom he is inextricably linked.
The visually stunning exhibit beautifully convey Mayet’s past memories and remind viewers of distant or recent memories of their own. The isolated, floating landscapes become individual allegories. Influenced by local lore, craft, and personal memory, Mayet’s work flourishes, reverently paying homage to the complexities and mystery of his homeland.
The exhibit will be on display at The Richard Taittinger Gallery until August 21, 2016. Click here for more information on the exhibit and gallery hours.