August 25 – December 23, 2012
REBECCA COLE GALLERY
Richard Soler: The Heart of Mary/El Corazón de María, co-organized by the artist and by the Pearl, is centered on images and the iconography of the Virgin Mary as intercessor and as an object of veneration, in drypoint (an engraving technique), in paintings, and in fabric, textiles and found objects; also in the exhibition is a series of papier-máché, gilt, painted, and mixed media masks and a sculpted head.
The masks bring autobiographical content of loss, of silence, and of redemption, worked in the traditional media of papier-máché; the gilt mask entitled Bridled Sun, for example, has a bit in his mouth. We tend to associate papier-máché with the ubiquitous piñata of Mexico, but breakable, filled vessels go back much further, to Spain and before that probably to China.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, has a rich iconography in the Roman Catholic Church. Soler, whose family is Venezuelan, renders Mary as the Divine Shepherdess, garlanded with red roses, a symbol of martyrdom; Mary is also called the Mystical Rose. In another painting and its related print, the Virgin is Comforter for the Afflicted, giving peace and aid to the troubled.
In the three small sculptures, the hands and faces are modeled and carved by the artist, who also has sketched and drawn on the fabric; the Virgin is adorned with milagros representing the petitions of the afflicted and the prayerful thanks of the healed.