3 September 2013


© Brandon Queen, 2013
The exhibit Undo by Omar Velázquez is an appropriate one for the on-campus art gallery of the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in San Juan's hip Santurce neighbourhood. Appropriate, because the overall theme of the pieces presented is nothing new and - to employ a bit of irony - recycles once more the concept of trash-as-art while touching on the dystopian nature of consumer culture. To be fair, in an age of Brian Jungen, it's quite difficult to find new approaches to this particular concept.

However, it is important to say that almost all of the pieces are very well executed from a technical standpoint.  Velázquez uses a range of techniques to make his point about the refuse left over from all of our society's industrial pursuits, including serigraphy, photography, collage, and sculpture (using Styrofoam, no less). One of the most refreshing aspects of his take on this issue is the playfulness of all the pieces. Rather than inviting the viewer to meditate gravely on the impact of capitalist production on the environment, Velázquez's works come off as a snide Pop Art commentary that belong as much in a hip café as in a museum or gallery.

In fact, his Styrofoam packing pallets serve as a bridge between the visions of the aforementioned Jungen and Jeff Koons. But the strongest piece(s) for me were the two untitled wood engravings, Sin título V and Sin título VI. They are a minimalist pair with small touches of colour - and even a small patch of duct tape - and are the most sophisticated execution of Velázquez's vision for this show.

The exhibit lasts until Saturday, September 14th at the Galería de Arte de la Universidad del Sagrado Corazon (Tuesday-Friday, 9h 30 - 17h 30; Saturday, 11h - 16h).