A new exhibit filled with unique portraits by Batesville-based artist Eliseo Casiano opens Aug. 4 at the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas.
The ASC will be hosting a free walk-in reception from 5-7 p.m. on August 4 to celebrate the opening of Color, Faces, People. The exhibit will be on view at the William H. Kennedy Jr. Gallery through October 22.
The exhibit is sponsored by the Southeast Arkansas Arts and Science Center Endowment Fund. MK Distributors and Art Krewe are sponsoring the reception, according to a press release.
Color, Faces, People features 27 works of art, including framed drawings, monochrome paintings on canvas, and paintings on unstretched canvas.
“The body of the work is inspired by the language of painting and personal narrative,” according to the statement. “Casiano uses his interest in color, light, and pattern to create an array of potentialities that reflect a Mexican-American aesthetic centered on his lived experience.” Casiano’s exhibit features a variety of stylized and realistic portraits.
“I reconfigure family photographs and oral histories into heavily saturated, ornate paintings with free associations and undefined resolution,” Casiano said. “I hope my formal elements inspire viewers to make their own connections. Whether related to family, identity or self-reflection, I hope they enjoy the depictions I have chosen. Casiano’s practice began by working from family photographs as a means of decompressing and illustrating narratives from the past.
“Some of the parents in my paintings died before I was born. I feel closer to them the moment I complete a portrait, perhaps looking at their faces for so long. I begin to imagine how they sound, the way they laugh or tell a story,” Casiano said.
The monochrome paintings, from his Spectrum series, feature friends and families during recent visits or conversations.
“This series is less about race/identity, and more about connectedness,” Casiano said. “The living subjects are different, much less heavy. I often think about where they are, what they are doing, what they are eating tonight. Color, Faces, People invites the viewer into a world beyond traditional portraiture, said ASC Executive Director and Acting Curator Rachel Miller.
“In his striking depictions of friends and family, Casiano uses layering of saturated color to explore the moods and identities of his subjects,” Miller said. “This dramatic use of color renders the images abstract, encouraging contemplation. Viewers may wonder: what are these people feeling or doing? How does color affect our interpretations? Casiano is Gallery Director at the Batesville Area Arts Council and Adjunct Professor of Painting and Drawing at Lyon College.
A native of Clinton, Okla., Casiano earned his BFA in painting from East Central University in Ada, Okla., and his MFA from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.
His paintings have been exhibited widely across the United States, including at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, and the Vermont Studio Center.
For more details on the exhibit, visit asc701.org. For more details on Casiano, visit eliseocasiano.com.