On the Map, 2011, Acrylic-on-canvas, 40" x 40" (Collection of the artist).
The imagery of the Ecuadorian-American artist, Pablo Caviedes, evokes a universal visual-language, which is simultaneously both comic and tragic. Through his imaginative "conceptual-configurations," he has developed a unique style, which critics have labeled: conceptual-figurative art. For example, in the recent painting entitled On the Map, he employs facial features to metaphorically illustrate the importance of centuries of human migration throughout the USA's vast expanse. In his image, Caviedes optimistically views the USA as a "big" nation filled with great potential and hopeful promise; a nation historically built by pioneers, immigrants, refugees and explorers. Ultimately, all were immigrants!
In the image, scores of intriguing turquoise-blue and bone-white abstract humanoid faces, beings, Amerindian designs, spermatozoid tadpoles, fish and other odd or surreal creatures unite to form a partially depiction of a mask-like camouflaged face that is geographically comprised of sundry "states," who represent abstract stylized clusters of people. All of these curious elements exist within a silhouetted shadow map of the continental Unites States of America that contains an uncanny mask-like human face tattooed with multiple pictographic symbols, emblems, and elements. Each organic "state" represents an abstract human being, floating upon a gorgeous antique dark-turquoise field of royal-blue. Each pictograph signifies the multicultural richness of America's migratory history, traditions, and trends, which long before 1492 helped forge America's "human face."
Perhaps, the viewer's first impression, upon seeing a shadow-map containing a sideways depiction of a human face, might be grounds for havoc and confusion. However, in time, by slowly visualizing the face, the viewer can find many analogies to our present society's misguided perception(s) of current immigrants; including contemporary society's inability to value, or even, acknowledge the vital contributions that immigrants make (each day) to America's overall success. Wisely, Caviedes's image On the Map asks us to look deeper, in order to examine America from a different perspective, e.g., by simply turning the painting around on its side [(the painting has a mechanism, which allows viewers to do that)] audiences will be able to clearly identify a human face: whose features are a perfect self-portrait of the artist. Moreover, as a result, a human face gazes out from the continental USA's map as a metaphorical "face" confronting us on behalf of all immigrants.
In order to learn more about Pablo Caviedes please or to read Dena Hawes brilliant critique