Glexis Novoa

Worcester, gold and smoke, details, 2003, graphite and gold leaf on wall, approximately 13" x 166'2" overall.

Through February 22, 2004

Cuban-born Glexis Novoa (b. 1964) has resided in Miami since 1995 and is known for meticulously rendered graphite landscapes that focus not on the natural world but on the built environment. Anchored by a common horizon line stretching across the walls of the room, Novoa's drawing juxtaposes imagined and real, ancient and modern architectural structures - monuments to human achievement and ideological symbols of power - from anonymous skyscrapers and imaginary statues to specific skylines and icons. Novoa's fantastic realism is informed by a range of visual “realities” including Renaissance perspective, 17th century Dutch landscapes, and 21st-century digital morphing. What emerges is a drawing that transports us to a time and space where the worlds of direct observation, memory, technological advances, and apocalyptic fiction collapse into a truly hybrid image.

For the site-specific “Worcester drawing,” Novoa's visit here last spring played a critical part in shaping the image. Novoa explored Worcester's architecture and experienced the panoramic hillside views from Bancroft Tower. He learned about the city's history of manufacturing and the impact of the Blackstone Canal connecting the city and its products to the seaport of Providence. He also studied the museum's 19th-century New England landscape paintings whose revered forest and countryside subjects were vulnerable to threats of urbanization and industrialization. Collectively, these keys to understanding the environs of Worcester today and the power and aspirations of previous generations inspired his composition and choice of graphite and gold leaf for the landscape that spans the walls of the museum's Contemporary Gallery (at a length of 166 feet). Epic in scale and narrative breadth, Novoa's drawing indicates time and place as a complex network of observations and memories, impressions and inventions, histories and fantasies.

This project is supported by the Don and Mary Melville Contemporary Art Fund. Additional generous support provided by David & Marlene Persky and Worcester Magazine.

Select Images from the Exhibition