Gremillion & Co. Fine Art
Limits & Proximities
September 13—October 13, 2018
Limits & Proximities: A Survey of Works Spanning Six Decades, summarized the artistic oeuvre of Bolivian-born Fernando Casas. The seminal piece in the exhibition is the nearly six-by-seven-foot “Interior with Disappearing Mirror—After Velazquez” (2018). “This is the painting I have wanted to paint for 40 years,” Casas said, “but I never dared do it because I didn’t have anything original to say to Velazquez.” Like all his recent work, this painting is a domestic scene set in the Casas home-studio. Four figures intently regard the artist, who gazes into a mirror situated in the foreground, though not actually depicted. The viewer’s perspective is that of the artist, who is represented as a headless figure. “Where is the looking subject?” Casas first pondered in the 1970s. His conclusion was the head, a void from which all visual reality appears. “It is something like consciousness,” he said. “It is impossible for one to see their own head without a mirror.”
The disappearing mirror in this painting allows the artist to see himself, his friend Bruce, his partner Terry, and his niece Minina, as well as his dogs, Gaia and Karma, simultaneously. This is a polar image, a reference to the six-point non-Euclidean spherical perspective system that Casas has been perfecting for years. He sees the visual world as a surrounding reality, not a window-like scene. In other paintings, he has also experimented with depicting time, the fourth dimension. Over the course of some 30 solo shows, Casas has continued to investigate the intersection of art, philosophy and science as a conduit to understanding the nature of reality and perception. Fittingly, he holds a doctorate in philosophy, which he teaches at Rice University. A 190-page scholarly catalog with eight essays, two by Casas, accompanied the show.