Gustavo Acosta is part of a group of artists influenced by American Realism, especially by Edward Hopper (1882-1967). Similarly to this painter, he observes and portrays cities’ forgotten corners, mostly places that could pass as inconsequential. He is a quiet observer who registers his impressions, in daylight and in nocturnes. Especially intriguing are the second, where the isolation of the spaces invites all kind of conjectures about what exactly is happening. Like Hopper, Acosta gravitates towards these types of scenarios mastering the sensation of suspense behind every image.
This exhibition reflects that interest, mostly the tendency to portray fragments of cities usually overlooked such as a building roof or an expressway underpass. Acosta relays a routine that develops blindness to the surroundings, making it almost invisible. Some of his images portray unflattering but necessary elements of urban development in a contemporary city, common, passed over places.
Through the years Acosta has developed a reputation for depicting the city where he lives. Consequently, he portrayed Havana, Mexico DF, Spain, and lastly Miami. Lately, he has combined images from different sources, alternating between the past and the present, like memory flashes. In this exhibition are, side by side, images inspired in Havana, such as“Travel Guide”; and others such as “Double Statement”, which brings us a corner from the Little River neighborhood in Miami.
All the pieces have a unifying formal element, a combination of yellow and darker colors. Sometimes the yellow forms a band in a portion of the composition, in others it becomes a square. His attraction towards abstraction inspires the first solution, something he has touched upon several times, in pieces like his aerial views, where the images are almost abstract. The second type of solution comes from observing the effects of color filters used in stage illumination, changing the light and therefore altering perception.
This interest can be traced to his “Under Surveillance” series of a couple of years ago; these were ‘green’ images, like from looking through night vision goggles. The background for this series was an attention call towards the ever-growing tendency to a lack of privacy, including the sacred intimacy of a home. It was a reflection of feeling watched and monitored all the time through subtle control mechanisms.
“Structural Narrative” refers not only to the plausible stories behind each piece but also to those in peoples’minds. Acosta is presenting images filtered by his perception; therefore his narrative is structured by time and memories.
– Irina Leyva-Perez, July 2018