Güelcome, meaning welcome in Venezuelan vernacular, is a swan song of sorts. Welcoming in the enormity of grief and processing the stages one must go through to learn to function and move forward in their daily lives without the presence of their loved ones. Ironically at a time of deep sadness, Contreras was offered admission to Columbia University in New York City for his Master of Fine Art’s degree. Closing up his studio and discarding works no longer of interest he has begun to assimilate the modus operandi of his art practice into a cohesive whole. Gathering works and destroying others is a metaphor for understanding loss in his life and moving forward in a positive way.
The laser cut woven prints in the exhibition are representative of the pieces he made while at Anderson Ranch. Taking ideas previously expressed through cut vinyl, the woven works are both dynamic and tactile. His larger vinyl, paint and shaved aluminum on metal pieces have a strong physical presence that speaks to his command of sculpture and his previous years as an art handler.
Utilizing large banners and dramatic wall paint, Contreras presents a show that is both elegy and rebirth; an opportunity to reckon with the past and make a dramatic visual leap forward.