REVIEW by RENOWNED ART JOURNALIST BETTY ANN JORDAN of ARTINSITE — DARKNESS BREATHES LIGHT – ANGEL TORRES PHOTOGRAPHY @ GLADSTONE HOTEL to AUGUST 18th!
Long Descriptive Overview of the Exhibition
DARKNESS BREATHES LIGHT
by Betty Ann Jordan
A sense of urgency informs In Darkness Breathes Light, cinematic portraits staged by Colombian-Canadian photographer Angel Torres in response to a widespread social crisis around gun violence. Having lost a nephew in a shooting in 2007, Torres decries such acts in darkly powerful pictures featuring Latin X subjects.
The portrait of chef Paola Solorzano appears to be taken in the middle of a crime scene. Wide-eyed and frantic inside her rain-spattered car, bathed in the lurid red light of an emergency vehicle or police-car, she’s on her cell phone, with her other hand pressed against the car window in horror. Similarly evoking the immediate aftermath of an act of violence, Luis Cabrera tears at his breast in a late-night alley with “stop the carnage” scrawled on the cinder-block wall behind him.
A harbinger of a crime waiting to happen, the chilling portrait of journalist Omar Ramirez depicts his head targeted in the scope of a gun. In the midst of a dangerous situation, the nude figure of Alan Abuchaibe, struggles to escape from a straight-jacket fashioned from the flag of Venezuela. His body is arched in a curve of resistance while his gaping mouth utters a silent scream.
Other images suggest the visceral nature of death, such as the unnerving, close-up view of media-artist/producer Julian Carvajal, so smeared with primordial black muck that his features are rendered unrecognizable. Or the portrait of Ramiro Valencia, makeup artist, whose face is graphically transformed into a skeletal death’s head.
Among the pictures of friends, or family members, outside the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto Daniel Garcia-Herreros projects determination, with arms flung wide-open in front of a colonnade of caryatid figures supporting a sculpture of the halls of justice. Driving the issue home, graffiti on one of the caryatids beseeches legislators to “ban guns.”
Projecting profound personal loss, Lucy G’Ala, architect, stands like a sentinel in a dark cemetery, with two young girls kneeling at her feet, modern angels ceremoniously holding a graduation photo of a young man, with a cardboard sign below it entreating humanity to “unlearn violence.”
Mirroring the Orlando, Pulse Nightclub massacre in 2016, Joie Justice Lamar stands grimly in front of a yellow caution tape, demarcating the scene of the crime. The author, activist and engineer bears a red spangled scarf that flows down from her hand like blood.
Standing apart from the others, the portrait of artist Alex Flores suggests a way forward via transformative artistic expression and vision. Protected by a powerful white dog, evocative of safety and transcendence, the artist sits in front of her painting of a flower sprouting from the buried barrels of two hand-guns. While it is dark outside, the studio is a locus of hope and resistance.
Thank you kindly for your generous, magnificent review Ms. Jordan ! Angel Torres
Betty Ann Jordan, Art InSite, Toronto-based arts journalist, Tour leader, Writer, Public speaker, Seminars , Trained artist