Gene + Susan Flores
SHOW OPENING: SATURDAY, AUGUST 24
R E C E P T I O N
Saturday, August 24th
4-6pm 4forART Gallery
GENE MONTEZ FLORES
Gene Montez Flores In 1957 I was a 22-year-old barista at the Hidden Village Coffee House in Monterey, California, owned by Cuban artist Pio Junco, who gave me my first welding torch, a few hand tools, and his belief in me. In Bauhaus style, I worked perfecting the art of flame cutting with the delicacy of a sumi brush, convinced fire and steel were my palette. I made decorative work, architectural commissions, jewelry, furniture, toys, non-objective and kinetic sculptures, figurative pieces, light fixtures, chandeliers, and candelabras in steel.
I had grown up at the edge of the Mojave desert and camped solo as a teen in the mountains overlooking the vast valley. Later, with my young family, we bought land and built a cabin in the high desert near the town of Tehachapi, followed by ten years in Santa Cruz CA. It was only when we moved to the warehouse district in lower Manhattan in 1979 that my memories and emotions about the desert landscape emerged and I began the work I still continue.
Susan Flores In 1962 I was 22 years old and fell in love in the first minute on the first day as we drank coffee at the Kit Kat Kafe in Monterey. I was an art student, so it all made sense. Our life on the high desert living off grid in the Tehachapi Mountains was very difficult, but we learned things by necessity that turned out to be the very things we have most enjoyed. The gift of silence. The ability to sense the time and weather. Spareness in all it's aspects. Generosity of spirit.
Beginning when we arrived in NYC in 1979 I started documenting the subtleties out our windows; our area being utterly deprived of anything growing, weather was determined by opening the window. Our road trips on the blue highways between NYC and Santa Cruz prompted my fence collections and “Filling Stations: Closed Down" series, reflections on loss of individuality and uniqueness when the relics I photographed are compared with today's mass formulations. “Mass Moca Ladies Restroom" was a chance occurrence, the end of the day, the museum mostly empty, the restroom completely empty, the empty and identical stalls revealed their temporary uniqueness. My sculptural stumps and trees, which are literal portraits, come from emotions prompted by close observation of their life cycles.