If you’ve made time to stop by our galleries over the past month and a half (and if you haven’t, you certainly should), you may already be aware that GMOA reopened its doors with five new exhibitions in addition to its permanent collection. What you may not be aware of is that one of these five, fabulous exhibitions is the work of UGA’s own Anthony Goicolea.
Born in Atlanta in 1971, Goicolea is a Cuban-American artist currently based in Brooklyn, N.Y. While at UGA in the early 1990s, he studied art history and drawing and painting. After graduating magna cum laude in 1994, Goicolea attended the Pratt Institute of Art in New York and obtained a master’s in sculpture and a minor in photography. Interestingly it was this final area of study—more specifically, his unique self-portraits in fine-art photography—that would lead Goicolea to make his debut in the art world in 1999.
Goicolea first captured widespread public attention with a series of large mural-sized photographs in an exhibition called “You and What Army.” The images depict multiple young boys on the verge of pubescence. Interestingly, with the help of costumes, wigs and digital manipulation, each character is played by Goicolea himself—making the works a unique form of self-portraiture. Many of the images recreate childhood incidents with slightly erotic and Freudian twists. As Goicolea says in his exhibition statement, “the cast of characters are seen undertaking painfully awkward transformations as they undergo the journey from childhood to adulthood and the hazy boundaries in between.” The combination of classic scenes of boyhood with science fiction-esque scenes of a cloned Goicolea in absurd and deranged situations leaves the viewer experiencing a blend of nostalgia, sympathy and fear.
As Goicolea’s work evolved and expanded into other realms—the photo above is from a group of images called “Water series”—this theme of the journey from boyhood to adolescence often reemerged, along with the use of clones. Even his “Landscape Series” contains traces of these earlier works.
“The scenarios often resemble what many of my previous sets and locations looked like after a full day of shooting,” Goicolea said in his Landscape Series statement. “Although most of the images are devoid of actual human presence, there is a strong sense of humanity established through the wake of their aftermath or in the mimicked behavior of the animals portrayed in each photograph.”
One such image, “snowscape,” contains all of these elements and has found its home on the Patsy Dudley Pate Balcony at the Georgia Museum of Art. The 60-foot-long photograph on Plexiglas melds three separate frozen landscapes into one winter narrative. According to Goicolea, this scene and his other landscapes “use the aesthetics and beauty inherent to nature and the sublime to create an exaggerated pastoral scene which bears the imprint of time.” The photo mural “snowscape” is accompanied by a video installation featuring the same snowy landscape, which is currently on view in the Alonzo and Vallye Dudley Gallery.
Among his many achievements, Goicolea has been awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship, the 2005 BMW Photo Paris Award and the 2006 CINTAS Fellowship. Twin Palms Press has published three books of Goicolea’s work and a collection of videos. For more information on Anthony Goicolea and to view his whole collection, please click here.