Armando G. Cortés; Hande Sever

Armando G. Cortés; Hande Sever

Wilmington-based artist Armando G. Cortés has incorporated realities and legends from his birthplace, Urequío, a small farming town in Michoacán, Mexico, into a captivating installation titled “Reverberante.” Natural springs run through some Urequío adobe homes’ clay floors; residents must carve channels to divert the water outdoors. In allusion to this phenomenon, the gallery floor is covered in a thick layer of reddish clay bisected by a meandering watercourse appearing to have sprung from the earth despite the gallery’s second-floor location. As if by magic, the water constantly flows and disappears into Llama en el llano (2019), a gilded stoneware sculpture of a nopal that doubles as a fireplace. During the opening reception, the artist diligently stoked a fire of aromatic wood inside the nopal, filling the air with smoke whose scent evoked some other time and place. Two colored-pencil portraits fancifully portray Cortés’ young cousins inside their grandmother’s garden, surrounded by animals and plants symbolic of portent and resilience; out of concern for political uncertainties, the artist has been teaching gardening and adobe-making to these boys who have never visited Urequío but could one day be forced to move there. On a shelf adjoining the window sits an assortment of botanical specimens whose vitality contravenes their broken containers. Nearby, Hande Sever also employs plants as a symbol of hope amid distress in “When the Geraniums Bloom,” a simple yet touching installation relating to her mother’s incarceration amid the 1980 Turkish military junta.

 

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