Leonel Matheu Weaves a Spell on Viewers at the Frost Art Museum
Much like Aesop, the ancient Greek storyteller, Leonel Matheu is a fabulist of the first order whose vivid imagery combines an everyman figure with animals and nature to caution against materialism, greed, and man's destructive encroachment on the environment.
Courtesy of Dot Fifty-one Gallery | Frost Art Museum Leonel Matheu in front of video installation.
"Crossroads of the Dystopia," a new exhibit at the Frost Art Museum, marks Matheu's first major museum survey and corrals 20 years of his oeuvre, featuring a collection of more than 70 works ranging from drawings with colored pencils, ink on paper, oil on canvases, public art installations, video and multimedia installations.
The sprawling exhibit is presented by Wynwood's Dot Fifty-One Gallery, which reps the artist locally, and was curated by El Nuevo critic Janet Batet who's deft eye has delivered a seamless impression of Matheu's most distinctive imagery.
On view you'll discover a whimsical cast of grasshoppers, teddy bears, flying birds, sniveling coyotes, snowmen, paper boats, and an omnipresent, anti-hero protagonist whose presence conveys both innocence and wonder and serves as a portal for audiences to identify with Matheu's narratives.
Courtesy of Dot Fifty-one Gallery | Frost Art Museum Leonel Matheu, Lazy Eye
Leonel Matheu was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1967 and grew up in the small town of Bauta, which was the center of the island's modest textile industry.
He graduated from the Institute of Graphic Design of Havana in 1987 and moved to Miami in 1992 where he began developing his distinct figurative, graphic style to inspire viewers to connect with the message of his diverse stories.
"In my work I try to find graphic images that are generic and universal," explains the 46 year-old artist. "The object is to provoke many different readings from an audience that are both psychological and visual. When viewers see them they can fabricate their own personal narratives that exist independent of me," he adds.
Courtesy of Dot Fifty-one Gallery | Frost Art Museum Leonel Matheu, Mission