New Show at Guttenberg Arts opens Sat, Feb. 18, 6-to-9 pm
By Sally Deering
Dreams can be interpreted as a means to a deeper understanding of our innermost thoughts, feelings and desires. When Jersey City artist Carlos DeMedeiros dreams, he interprets his dream as objects d’art.
DeMedeiros’ dream-inspired works are whimsical, playful, and sometimes religious and political, and will be on view in the new exhibit CABINET OF CURIOSITIES: THE WHIMSICAL WORLD OF CARLOS DEMEDEIROS opening Sat, Feb. 18 as part of Guttenberg Arts Center’s new gallery series.
DeMedeiros, a self-taught artist and former Monk, takes found objects and deconstructs, then reconstructs them into unusual, dreamy, and sometimes kooky objects d’art. A lightbulb affixed with legs becomes a baby chick; a hammer transforms into a winged bird; a watch sprouts money – DeMedeiros’ sculptures are playful, trippy and one-of-a-kind. At Guttenberg Arts gallery, executive director Matt Barteluce and curators Meyken Barreto and Elvis Fuentes re-create DeMedieros’ studio environment – his “personal universe” so that visitors can experience DeMedeiros’ “fabulous, unique and extremely creative thinking”.
“All of my pieces are reflections of my experiences,” DeMedeiros says “I truly believe that art is a tonic for the human spirit. Twelve years ago, or so, I quit my job and went to a place that offered a studio for artists. I didn’t have much of a budget. I wondered, what can I do to use that studio space? Someone suggested found objects. One thing about found objects, they are connected to my daily life.”
Brazilian-born and a former Monastic scholar, DeMedeiros lives in Jersey City and has participated in exhibitions at the New York Public Library, Art Students League of New York, the Bakehouse Art Complex in Miami, Bluffton University’s Grace Albrecht Gallery in Ohio, and the Outsider Art Fair in New York.
“When I was in the monastery, Dominican priests’ days are divided by eight: eight hours to sleep and rest, eight hours to study, and eight hours of leisure,” DeMedeiros says. “My eight hours of leisure were dedicated to doing ceramics and engaging with artisans. My circle of friends had become so much bigger than my church friends. I realized I wanted to engage with everybody.”
CABINET OF CURIOSITIES is part of Guttenberg Arts new exhibition program that focuses on artists living and working in New Jersey. This new series takes place in two locations: the Guttenberg Arts Gallery in Guttenberg, and the Lake House at James J. Braddock Park in North Bergen. Barteluce and his Guttenberg Arts team see New Jersey as a hotbed of raw talent like artist Carlos DeMedeiros, he says.
“Guttenberg Arts is excited to extend our exhibitions program to include shows by practicing artists working in New Jersey,” Barteluce says. “We are grateful to curators Meyken Barreto and Elvis Fuentes for connecting us with incredible artists like DeMedeiros.”
As for DeMedeiros, he says he will always create art with an open heart and upbeat perspective. He’s been this way since he was a kid.
“I was talking to my mother last night and she said something funny,” DeMedeiros says. “She said used to call me ‘Alice in Wonderland’ because it didn’t matter how difficult the situation, I was always seeing bright colors and things in a positive perspective. This has helped me to survive. I wish everybody had this mindset. There is always something good you can squeeze out of something bad. I apply this to the art I do.”
If you go
Sat, Feb. 18 – Fri, Mar. 24
Opening Reception Sat, Feb. 18, 6-9 pm
Cabinet of Curiosities: The Whimsical World of Carlos DeMedeiros
6903 Jackson St, GTNBRG