“Cheap Chat”: A Duck And Cat, Small Talk, And The War In Ukraine
The solo exhibition “Cheap Chat” from artist Fernanda Lavera epitomizes the maxim: if you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk. A criticism of “those people who talk about the war yet do nothing about it,” Lavera’s artwork are intended to reflect “a world full of conflict where peace is in danger.” The series confronts those who say they care about the war in Ukraine but only serve to benefit their own interests.
Known for her counter cultural pieces, Lavera questions the world through the medium of paint. Lavera’s artistic voice is most acutely appropriate for this message of hypocrisy: the self-contradiction between morals and behavior.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, considered the graffiti capital of the world, Lavera was inspired by her aunt’s love of sketching. Based in the tradition of Jean-Michel Basquiat, a neo-expressionist of the 1980s, Lavera’s medium of graffiti-esque painting is dictated by her emotion. Lavera challenges the notion of words, their ability to convince without requiring action, by creating her own artistic language.
Her painting is a form of visual conversation, “eccentric shapes and vivid colors of contrasting expressions escape, providing a glimpse into the unconscious imagination of the artist.” This expression extends beyonds language, instead, her brush acting as a pen to transmit her message.
For the audience, a transformation from abstraction to concretization occurs when viewing the works. At first, they are drawn to the imaginary figures with their bizarre forms and colors. Then, the longer they stare, the more they recognize that the unearthly world of the artwork is a reflection of their own recognizable world. While Lavera’s works are beautiful on their own, it is when the subtext is realized that they are fully appreciated.
The exhibition began on July 7 and will be on view until July 31, 2022 at G23NY.
Lavera’s own description is mirrored in her artwork titled “Cheap Chat.” Lavera describes an event she “witnessed” one day in Miami. “I see a duck and a cat; It looks like they’re making a deal. I wonder: what are they talking about, do they understand each other?” Her response: “Cheap chat. Small Talk.” In contrast to her message of “Cheap Chat,” it is her surreal compositions which collectively speak the truth.