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10/2008
Abigail Lazkoz and Fernando Renes

Abi und Fernando, 2008


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Since the conception of Homie a painting by Fernando Renes, which depicts a deer eating two people, has hung above its dining room table. Renes and fellow Spanish artist, Abigail Lazkoz, live and work in a shared apartment in Brooklyn. Fittingly, Homie is pleased to host the artists in its apartment for the exhibition, Abi und Fernando. Abigail Lazkoz exhibits two large-scale ink drawings from the series, One Hundred and Thirty Thousand Years More, 2006/08. Fernando Renes presents a selection of his hand-painted animations, The Table Land, 2005, Instant Gratification, 2001, and Everything Matters, 2001. Of course, the artists' drawings and videos reach beyond the home, into the self, and across cultural and historic expanses. With distinct styles and interests, the artists open up narratives of mystery, irony, darkness, and humor.

Fernando Renes produces animated films with the dedication of a painter of illuminated manuscripts. Each film is hand-painted frame-by-frame, amounting to hundreds of individual watercolors and drawings. The animations are reminiscent of both 70s cartoons and experimental cinema, with references to Surrealism and Philip Guston. Imagery flows from flights of fancy to intimate and mental processes, obsessions and dysfunctions. Rolling along as a series of interweaving narratives, the animated sequences emulate the fragile construction of the self, where the imprints on the memory undergo a degree of nostalgia due to the inability to go back, whether it be to the past, to childhood or to the very beginning. (1)

In contrast to Renes's colorful imagery, Lazkoz's ink drawings depict the cross-section of a graveyard revealing an array of characters in compromising arrangements. Although the headstones are adorned with straightforward descriptive messages, complexity arises upon viewing the contents of the tombs and messages simultaneously. Lazkoz converges dark humor and existentialism to construct social, political and historical references. The place or era is unclear; antiquated backdrops are paired with contemporary characters integrating cultures, thoughts and neurosis. While Lazkoz's work incorporates contemporary social and governmental politics, it is also deeply influenced by traditional Spanish painting. This series is an explicit homage to the tradition of metaphysical still lifes in Spanish painting, particularly those of Juan Sanchez Cotán (ca.1560-1627), Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664) and Francisco de Goya (1748-1828), among others. Lazkoz maintains this traditional approach by choosing to eliminate color from her work, stating that black and white is a "frugal language suitable for a war economy". Each drawing, formally rigorous and painstakingly detailed, is a combination of discomfort, struggle and psychological complexity; always pessimistic, and always conveying a quiver of hope, Lazkoz successfully straddles irony with sincerity. (2)

Fernando Renes (Spain, 1970) lives and works in New York. For further info, visit: Distrito Cu4tro, Madrid (www.distrito4.com) and Quadrado Azul, Porto-Lisboa (www.quadradoazul.pt).

Abigail Lazkoz (Spain, 1973) lives and works in New York. For further info, visit: Monya Rowe, NY (monyarowegallery.com).


(1) Iria Candela
(2) Monya Rowe