ARTIST STATEMENT / BIO
I was born in Valencia, Venezuela in 1967 to parents who were medical professionals. Their debates about how decisions effect health and human behavior influenced me to make art that would offer a different way to view the world. I moved to the United States at age 21 to study art, earning a Master's in studio art from New York University, NY.
Early paintings were influenced by my Venezuelan heritage and its pre-Columbian culture which revolves around home, family, religion, and the land. Fascinated by uniforms, I painted figures clothed in religious garments or military gear in the stylized Latin folk-art tradition. As an American-based, Venezuelan-born artist, I traveled often between these countries and began to think about cultural differences and connections both countries share. When my wife and I returned to Venezuela in 2003, the changing political climate under President Chavez’ despotic regime became intolerable. The government censored artistic expression and took control of cultural institutions. Because my work pertains specifically to the conflict I witnessed, my paintings would undoubtedly be censored, therefore, we left my homeland and returned to the United States in 2011.
Our young son quickly became immersed in American life, which inspired me to include motifs from today's youth culture. I combined painted images of childhood toys, superhero cartoon and video game characters together with images from antigovernment protesters - gas masks protective military gear and goggles. During the opening night of my solo exhibition in Florida, I staged an interactive performance with a group of actors, to reenact a political riot.
My current body of work, Twisted Vines, is based on the Enredaderas series from 2005. Then, as now, they are abstracted, entangled branches, vines, and mangrove roots. Bold colors, solid backgrounds, precises brush strokes, and a graphic style contrasts with the expressionistic, painterly approach from the earlier series. Having spent half of my life in Venezuela and an equal amount in the United States, my bi-cultural perspective, and growing awareness about the differences and commonalities between these two countries, will continue to inform my work. I remain committed to exploring in my artwork what I experience in life. Chaos, myth, injustice and memory - entangled and intertwined.
Arturo Correa is represented by Ascaso Gallery, based in Caracas and Miami. He has exhibited his work for the past 24 years, with 20 solo exhibitions in art museums, universities and art institutions throughout the United States and Venezuela. Correa’s paintings are in the permanent collection of 9 art museums and institutions in both the USA and Venezuela. He was artist-in-residence at the Singapore American School for five years and for ten years, guest lecturer and instructor in Venezuela and the United States.