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Carla Perez

Devourer of Sunsets    
Curated by Nakai Falcón    
August 11th - September 24th 2023

Carla Perez

On Our Way to Bonao
Acrylic and cold wax on paper

Charmoli Ciarmoli presents Devourer of Sunsets, a solo exhibition featuring works by Carla Perez. Within an eclectic gathering of paintings, drawings, and sculpture, the artist delves into questions surrounding agency, alienation, and memory. Since their earliest years growing up between the Dominican Republic and New York, Perez possessed a deep seeded desire to become one with botanical forms. “I love nature but more than that, my whole childhood had me wish I could melt into the earth”. The peace fostered out of nature and memories from those times as a child weaving in and out of the garden, and their impact on the artist’s relationship with the natural world now. Compared to the artificial sphere we inhabit on a regular basis, the forests, oceans, skies, and animals tied to nature are not restricted to rules or judgment. There is an inherent freedom with the ability to operate beyond the imagination. Her work interrogates the tension between ignoring the splendor of the natural world over time or selfishly envying what it produces. While not coming to definitive answers, these paintings, drawings, and objects document her individual reflective journeys.

Perez’s work ponders on identity and expands on the influences and concepts of creation beyond the temporal and metaphysical plane. From memories of contorted vines, blooms, and fallen branches as crystalized statues to behemoths and playful forest dwellers emerging from the brush or wandering with stars, the title is suggestive of an entity being a force of nature and alludes to something that may have been spawned by the natural world. Akin to the miraculous performance by the heavens when the sun’s glow is extinguished by the darkness bringing the night sky, Perez’s monochromatic palettes span cold and brackish hues between oils, wax, and ink that melt into warm bursts straddling the line between stillness and movement. Alchemic processes situate themselves above and below our eye level, as the artist’s glass sculpture is reminiscent of starlight, depicting flora in stasis where nostalgic associations are frozen in the sky, or have fallen and are bound to the earth.

Drawing inspiration from both gothic and folk art, Perez’s reimagining of sites and objects are juxtaposed to familiar versions of herself within nature, depicting scenes where her reclusive creatures are untethered from conventional meanings surrounding identity and these embodiments exist in blurred spaces between human and non human. The grotesque and beautiful. The ancient and mythic, appearing as though they emerged from either the primordial ooze, having been dormant within submerged grottos and secret forests to winding downward from the heavens or even banished from places of darker, unknown depths. Sometimes reminiscent of the things our elders told us stories of caution around if we misbehaved, Perez’s paintings and drawings delve into the similarities we share with these peculiar hybrids and while they may appear feral and unpredictable, they are in fact misunderstood and there is a desire from these figures to exist unbothered, and explore the infinite splendor outside of the material.

Carla Perez (b. 1998) is a Dominican-American multidisciplinary artist based in New York. With a focus on exploring the interplay between alienation, creation, and autonomy, her diverse practice spans watercolors, drawing, oil and encaustic painting, as well as glass sculpture. Through her art, Perez brings forth a world where half-sentient beings and ordinary objects intersect, giving rise to surreal animal-human hybrid bodies and expansive abstract spaces. Within her work, the passage of time finds representation in abandoned abstract natural spaces and forgotten woods, while objects left behind serve as poignant markers. Perez holds an A.A from Chavon School of Design and a BFA from Parsons School of Design. Her captivating artwork has been exhibited in the Dominican Republic and New York, with her pieces also being held in private collections.

Nakai Falcón (b. 1997) is an independent curator based in New York with a BA in Anthropology from SUNY Purchase and an MA in Design History & Curatorial Studies from Parsons School of Design. Caught between different cultural perspectives and schools of thought that would pose a challenge fitting him into one category, Nakai embraces an awkward positioning that celebrates otherness within the sphere of creative culture. He is primarily concerned with supporting POC and Queer adjacent creatives that explore ideas and conversations that do not confine marginalized artists to focus solely on socio-political disparities, but experience a creative liberation to address their values without having to follow conventional paths.

Press Release and About the Artist

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