Raul de Nieves
In his latest show El Rio at Company gallery, De Nieves challenges the usual trauma of death in Western culture and re-positions it with a fantastical and joyful flair. Inspired by the tribal cultures in New Guinea, De Nieves constructs a world where, like the river that indiscriminately gives and takes life, death is greeted with aplomb and full acceptance. Free-standing crystallized forms, the serpentine outgrowth overtaking any of the sculptures, or even the oozing beads pooling onto the floor come together to create a tableau of a world De Nieves envisions—a world where organic forms freely erupt, regenerate, and overtake by the natural order within this new realm. Whether recognizable signifiers become defamiliarized or amorphous shapes take on completely new meanings, El Rio oscillates between reality and absurdity to delightfully recontextualize mortality.
Brooklyn-based artist Raul De Nieves has an uncanny knack for details. Using mundane craft materials and disparate objects, De Nieves harnesses the transformative power of accumulation. The sheer amount of meticulous craftsmanship (think beading, gluing, stitching, clustering) lays the painstaking intricacy of his works bare. Proving that majesty can lie in the minutiae, De Nieves maximalism doesn’t forego a clear disciplined tact either. Despite a jolt of wit and fun that belies all his works, De Nieves outbursts are constrained within the bounds of a natural symmetry, further showing his works as a true testament to how obsessive detailing need not forego a holistic wonder.