Surrounded by Water

LatchKey Gallery

Nov. 4, 2024 - Dec. 18, 2022

173 Henry St
New York, 10002

LatchKey Gallery is proud to present, SURROUNDED BY WATER, a two-person exhibition featuring new works by Edra Soto and Emanuel Torres. Drawing on historical, political and personal narratives, Soto and Torres create abstract, visuals essays documenting the consequences of the colonial relationship between the Unites States and Puerto Rico. SURROUNDED BY WATER will be on view from November 4, 2022 – December 18, 2022 at 173 Henry Street, New York. The opening reception will take place on November 4thfrom 6-8pm, both artists will be in attendance.

As part of Edra Soto’s ongoing series, GRAFT, Dos Cuerpos (Two Bodies), is a collection of works on paper of fragmented compositions sourced from her decade long investigation into the origins of Rejas; ornamental iron screens ubiquitous in the architecture of post-war Puerto Rico due to the security they provided and their ability to allow for cross ventilation. Today, theses iron rejas are not only viewed as a protection device as much as a language that pertains to the island’s visual culture. The ghostly imprints found in Dos Cuerpos suggest a sense of fragility, an absence which act as metaphors to her personal experience as she cares for her elderly mother who suffers from dementia, the numerous catastrophic hurricanes and recent laws that have accelerated settled colonialism on the island. This sense of absence, loss and removal converge on to the paper as cryptic remnants or archeological findings from the past.

Where Soto’s geometrical abstractions are derived from the architecture of Puerto Rico, the gestural abstractions by Emanuel Torres are examinations of the human form. Working from the body, Torres deconstructs the form, fragmenting them into a reduction of shapes and colors that energetically consume the canvas. As Torres explains, “the colonial relationship creates a psychological way of being, some sort of deformation. Trying to understand what is around and creating something out of it. In this case, painting is a way of freedom, … that build themselves in the painting as a poem of forms that in some way articulates what is happening around me.” These gestural works result in a symbolic liberation of the colonized body, freeing these forms to create a new body; a rebirth.

SURROUNDED BY WATER serves as a visual essay into the inequities imposed on an island and its people. Words resulting from the 45th President who, when ask what he knew about Puerto Rico after the catastrophic hurricane María, replied, “It is an island, surrounded by water…” serves as the symbolic indifference the US Government has towards its colonized-citizens.

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